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Front line worker wearing PPE

Honouring the pandemic’s heroes

Following their shining example
By Hazel McCallion
Goodbye and good riddance to 2020. This past year was undoubtedly one of the most challenging the world has seen for generations. But as with all big battles, there were heroes who emerged through the COVID-19 pandemic. In 2020, the heroes were undoubtedly the people who work in seniors living.

The pandemic put a spotlight on the thousands of people who have been working tirelessly on the frontlines to care for people in long term care homes and retirement residences. People who are familiar with senior living know about the many angels who work in this sector. But now, thanks to the pandemic, everybody knows. And there is not a more worthy group of people to recognize than the people who choose to work in seniors care.
“This pandemic has been an awakening”
As Revera’s Chief Elder Officer, I’ve had the privilege of spending a lot of time with the employees and residents in long term care homes and retirement residences. They are some of the most committed people I’ve met. I’m always so proud of these workers because they get up every morning with the goal to help people. Many of these employees have been at the same home for 30 or more years. For people like that it’s not just a job, it’s a calling. They do it because they love their job and the people they’re serving and that’s a very commendable quality.

Through this pandemic they faced the constant fear of being infected by the virus. They also worked uncompromisingly to keep their residents safe. In spite of their best efforts, their hearts were broken when the virus infiltrated their homes and took some of their residents. And yet, they soldiered on in the face of fear and tragedy because that’s what people who are committed to doing the right thing do. That’s what heroes do.

In the future, 2020 will be remembered for COVID-19. But in the years to come, starting in 2021, we should focus on the heroism of these frontline workers to guide us as we continue to adapt to whatever a post-COVID world will look like. The examples they have set have been bold and we owe it to them to match their determination to serve others.

There’s an old saying that the darkest hour of the night comes just before the dawn. With the arrival of vaccines the end of the pandemic is finally in sight. I for one am excited to be able to get out and see people again. I’m also excited about the prospects for the work ahead to make significant changes that will improve people’s lives, especially those living and working in long term care. This pandemic has been an awakening. It’s my resolution in 2021 to honour the examples set by our frontline heroes. I have devoted much of my life to public service, and I am inspired by our pandemic heroes to continue to serve others to the best of my ability. I hope you will too.
Hazel McCallion
By Hazel McCallion
Hazel McCallion joined Revera as Chief Elder Officer in 2015. Her leadership guides how Revera can improve care for our residents as she uses her position to challenge ageism and preconceptions about aging.