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Woman says 90-year-old mother losing quality of life due to extended Northwood lockdown

Holly Crooks says her mother can no longer go shopping, go for a walk outdoors, or play a game of bridge with friends
042720 - northwood
Northwood long term care home during the COVID-19 pandemic (Meghan Groff/HalifaxToday.ca)

Holly Crooks says her mother can no longer go shopping, go for a walk outdoors, or play a game of bridge with friends.

“She’s changed from being a woman who got up and got dressed and put on jewelry and had a day full of activities, to someone who doesn’t thing there’s much point in getting dressed in the morning,” she tells NEWS 95.7’s The Rick Howe Show.

Crooks’ 90-yar-old mother lives in Northwood, the Halifax long-term care home that has seen over 50 deaths from COVID-19 since March.

Although there are currently no cases of the virus in the facility, residents are still on what Crooks calls “a lockdown.”

“I feel the responsibility to speak up not only on behalf of my mother, she is the tip of the iceberg here,” she says. “She is one of hundreds and hundreds of seniors in similar situations throughout the province, not just at Northwood, who are continuing this lockdown. And I feel a responsibility to speak up and say this isn’t okay.”

Earlier this week, Crooks sent a letter to Premier Stephen McNeil, Health Minister Randy Delorey, and other Nova Scotian government officials, urging them to reconsider the regulations.

“I’ve had a response, an automatic reply from Dr. Strang’s office and no response from the Minister of Health or the Premier,” says Crooks.

Crooks says recreational activities and most visits from family are still not permitted for residents due to COVID.

“Almost every aspect that brought quality of life to their lives, it’s been taken away,” she says.

And the few family visits that are allowed, Crooks says she isn’t able to communicate well with her mother.

“Their lives are on hold and have been for more than four months now. Completely on hold. The only people she gets to talk to is if a staff member comes in and out or a phone call. And we do try and increase our phone calls, but that’s not a meaningful visit,” she says.

Although she understands how vulnerable her elderly parent is to the virus, Crooks says she is willing to take any precautions necessary.

“Maybe as a society we can create a groundswell of public opinion to put pressure on the government to examine this approach and to make changes that allow families to have a meaningful role again,” she says. “I’m willing to undergo the screening; I’m willing to wear whatever PPE they require to address their infection control protocols.”

But for now, Crooks is most worried that there’s no end date for the long-term care lockdown.

“I can’t believe that they didn’t already have a plan in place for this,” Crooks says. “And my fear is that their plan was this lockdown continues for those people, and it shouldn’t.”


Victoria  Walton

About the Author: Victoria Walton

Victoria is HalifaxToday.ca's weekend editor and a Halifax-based freelancer. She is originally from Nova Scotia's Annapolis Valley.
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