University of Saskatchewan (USask)-led Remember Rebuild Saskatchewan is launching a new Saskatchewan contribution to the national COVID in the House of Old (CIHO) Exhibit, which looks at the impacts of the pandemic in Canadian residential care homes, remembering the thousands of Canadian care home residents and workers who died of COVID-19 or suffered through extended periods of stress and isolation.
The CIHO show, created by Megan Davies, features seven stories from Elders who lived-in long-term care during the COVID-19 pandemic.
“Residents in long-term care facilities faced some of the most extreme responses, from lockdowns and restrictions to isolation from family and friends, and we wanted to help raise some of the concerns from people in these facilities that arose. It was one thing for many of us to choose whether we wanted to follow the public health guidelines, but for people in long-term care, they had limited choices,” said Dr. Erika Dyck (PhD), Canada Research Chair in the History of Medicine and the project lead.
Each story at the exhibit is represented by a unique chair, featuring items of special meaning to the person interviewed and their families. Working with Saskatchewan-born Kayley Lawrenz, the Remember Rebuild team and CIHO have created a new chair that explores what it is like to be a younger person living in long term care.
“Partnering with the Remember Rebuild project at USask we added another chair and this exhibit that tells the story of a young woman whose experience is maybe different from what we think of when we imagine older adults in care facilities,” said Dyck.
Dyck acknowledges the hard work of Patrick Chassé, the research co-ordinator for Remember Rebuild Saskatchewan, who has spent many hours taking in stories from exhibit visitors who have been eager to share their own experiences of the pandemic; all of which will ultimately be kept in their archive.
“We are excited to be part of this national exhibit that brings public attention to the plight of long-term care in this country, and especially during the pandemic, where we saw disastrous outcomes,” said Dyck.
The exhibit will run in Saskatoon’s Cliff Wright Library from June 5-17.