Cleaning for elderly cancelled amid COVID concerns

By Andru McCracken


One of the early casualties of COVID 19 pandemic was weekly cleaning for seniors offered through a program called Better At Home. The program also helped do yard work for seniors and provided shuttle services; these are also stopped for the interim.

Jana McMaster, who manages Better At Home services through Robson Valley Community Services is well aware of the benefits of the program including the important socialization it offers, but in order to help slow the spread of the virus and to help ‘flatten the curve’ it has been canceled at least until April.

She said the decision to stop the service was made by the program funder which is the United Way.

“We’re mindful that having a tidy and clean house is important and it’s also a social touch point,” she said. “Decreasing the risk of infection as much as possible is more important that a temporary [stop to cleaning].”

McMaster said precautionary measures will help reduce exposure and ‘flatten the curve’ of the infection rate. She explained that a cleaner working in many seniors residences could easily spread the virus among the most vulnerable.

Epidemiologists are advising social isolation and ordering the shutdown of many nonessential services including salons, spas and more.
Terry Jensen is saddened that the cleaning program has ceased.

She’s chosen to hire someone privately to continue to clean her mom’s home.
“With my mom in the wheelchair, if the floors don’t get clean wheels pick up grime, and her hands get dirty,” she said. “Hopefully they don’t start causing more harm by enacting strong measures.”

While the weekly cleaning, shuttling and yard work is off the list, Robson Valley Community Services is working with community volunteers to ensure that seniors are getting mail posted and groceries and medication delivered.

“There are a lot of people in the community who want to help,” said McMaster.

They are also running a program giving seniors a friendly daily phone call to keep them socially connected.

“We’re trying to be creative to connect our community,” she said.

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