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A bout of cabin fever shows our longing for community.

Amen.  That was my first thought when our Medical Director told me that no new cases of the stomach bug had occurred among our residents in the past 48 hours.  It meant that we were through the worst of it; that perhaps no more residents or staff would have to suffer through the troubling symptoms and the risks of dehydration.

Thankfully, it also meant we were close to being able to resume normal operations.  As you all are keenly aware, one of the precautionary measures taken to prevent the further spread of this nasty virus was to close our Dining Rooms and cancel Activities Programs seven long days.  It no doubt helped the situation.  But, in spite of regular daily visits from staff members in Dining and/or Nursing, it was not surprising that the secondary “diagnosis” for a vast majority of residents was a case of “Cabin Fever”!

In speaking with residents after activities resumed it was clear to me that the most common, though unintended result of the week of “isolation” had been a renewed appreciation of the value of community.  Even the most introverted among us had to admit – “I miss seeing everybody!”

I know I did.  I missed the sight of residents sharing a meal; the sound of their laughter and conversations pouring out of the Dining Rooms.  I missed Happy Hours, lunch at The Terrace Grille, the dominoes group, the puzzle “piecertogetherers”, the current events discussions, the residents bundled up for excursions with Maurice.  I missed so many of the daily interactions and activities – both planned and impromptu – that are part of the community’s pulse here at Springwell.

I’ve often said that the sense of a caring, warm community is the most important aspect of life at Springwell.  That is not at all to minimize the therapeutic benefits of high quality in our nursing services, dining, rehabilitation, activities or housekeeping.  But, particularly after a brief time when key parts of it are removed from us, the value of community and our relationships with one another are even more appreciated.

Phil Golden, Director