As the impact of the novel coronavirus (COVID-19) continues to affect people around the globe, the Public Health Agency of Canada has rated the risk “low” for most Canadians.* However, seniors—or anyone with a compromised immune system or underlying health condition—are at a higher risk of getting very sick from the virus.*

While concerns about congregate living may be valid during times like these, here’s how retirement residences can actually help seniors and their families feel reassured during times of illness.

Government-regulated for seniors’ wellbeing

Retirement residences are regulated by government authorities, meaning all homes are mandated to have robust policies and protocols that protect the wellness of residents. These regulations are implemented not just in times of outbreak, but at all times—meaning retirement communities are always prepared to respond to illness outbreaks and other emergencies.

Regular monitoring of health

In times such as these, retirement residence staff are tasked to regularly monitor residents for any signs of illness for their protection. Unlike an older adult living alone who may face barriers to seeking immediate medical attention, residence staff are trained to identify and act on any concerns. Seniors and their families can feel reassured knowing that staff are there 24/7, should help be required.

Quarantine support

Residences are also equipped for quarantine situations. Staff are there to support a resident if they require isolation in their suite during an outbreak, including delivering three meals a day, continuing to provide care services, laundry and cleaning of their suite, and most importantly comfort and reassurance that everything will be alright.

Family caregiving support

Families who help a loved one living on their own home know that coordinating schedules to support them can be stressful. An older loved one may not only have care needs, but require help with things like getting to appointments, grocery shopping and meal preparation, and even companionship. If an illness requires rigorous infection control procedures, it can be difficult for families to protect themselves (i.e., masks, gowns) and their loved one.

Residences, on the other hand, provide both health and social supports; even if there is physical isolation, seniors are never alone. Families may find comfort in that, especially during an outbreak such as COVID-19, when they may have to self-isolate (perhaps because of travel or direct exposure to the virus) and are unable to visit their loved one as a result.

Questions about how Chartwell is responding to the COVID-19 situation? Visit our website to learn more.



* Public Health Agency of Canada. “Coronavirus disease (COVID-19) updates,” (date modified: 2020-03-13), online: