Winnipeg care home recovery parades bring hope — ‘something that we all need right now,’ says CEO

The road to recovery from COVID-19 can be tough — but one Winnipeg care home is pulling out all the stops to celebrate when it happens.

Recovery parades have become something of a tradition at the Saul and Claribel Simkin Centre, where 15 residents have so far recovered from the illness, according to the care home’s latest COVID-19 update on Dec. 4.

“It actually has just been such a wonderful event that staff look forward to. They’re so proud of the residents for the recovery. Families are excited. The residents are excited,” said Laurie Cerqueti, the facility’s CEO.

“They’re very happy that they’ve survived. They feel very welcomed back to their home nursing units. They feel supported and loved by the staff. For a lot of them, it just is … really a sense of accomplishment that they’ve made it.”

The parades are especially meaningful to the families of residents who have recovered from COVID-19, Cerqueti said.

“It’s a very scary time,” she said. “They’re not sure if their loved one is going to make it, so they are overjoyed and love to be a part of the celebration.”

Cerqueti said the parades have also become a great morale booster for people working at the care home.

Laurie Cerqueti, the care home’s CEO, says the recovery parades have become an important event for residents, their families and staff. (Saul and Claribel Simkin Centre/Facebook)

“It gives staff the opportunity to celebrate, to be hopeful, because I think hope is something that we all need right now, just a big sense of joy,” she said.

To date, 29 residents at the care home have contracted COVID-19. Five of those cases are active — including one person who is currently hospitalized — while eight have died, the care home’s latest update says.

The latest update from the province on Friday said a total of 17 staff at the care home had also contracted the illness.

“It’s been a really hard year,” Cerqueti said. “We wanted to be the bright light during a very dark time and I think the parade is a great way of doing that.”

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