‘It truly is the best place.’ An inside-look at retirement living in 2021

What’s Berwick like during a pandemic? 4 residents and staff share their experiences

Two residents and two staff let you know what it's like inside Berwick by the Sea during a pandemic. Hint: it's joyful, social and safe!

Art moved into his new home at Berwick by the Sea in the fall of 2014 — he’s pretty sure he was the fourth person to move in to the Campbell River independent living community.

“It truly is the best place. Secure — 24 hours a day there is always staff on duty,” he says. “What I didn’t expect is how jovial and caring the employees would be. Right from management to housekeeping, and dining room servers to administration.”

Six years into his new life at Berwick the COVID-19 pandemic turned the world upside down, but for Art, life has largely stayed the same. He doesn’t feel restricted in his daily life, and wouldn’t change a thing about Berwick’s protocols.

“No, it’s great. For me, being here means I don’t need groceries. I can do any medical appointments via telephone. I am kept safe inside of Berwick and my needs are met.”

Visits, dining and activities continue — just a little more spread out

Stories of isolated seniors in long-term care homes have been one of the most heart-wrenching parts of the pandemic, but Community Relations Manager Dianne Robb says Berwick — which offers independent living, not long-term care — is vibrant and safe.

“Residents are free to come and go. Family and friends book visits every day, they just have to avoid common areas, where everyone is required to wear a mask. Our dining room is open for cohort dining — it’s reorganized to allow for physical distancing, but that hasn’t changed the fabulous meals.”

Gary moved into Berwick in November 2020 because he couldn’t drive anymore and needed to live closer to town. The pandemic didn’t cause him a moment’s hesitation, and he’s been pleased with life in the past few months.

“I go for walks a lot. There are less visitors, but the staff make up for it! I don’t feel alone — they’re so friendly and always smiling. Not one crabby one.”

Ashley, a server in Berwick’s dining room, says it’s a joyful place to work.

“I care so much for our residents, you just bond with them. Like you have so many grandparents here,” she says.

Ashley was a little apprehensive about how life would look when the pandemic first hit, but once protocols were put in place she felt more at ease.

Managers meet every week to discuss changing guidelines, and then pass along information to staff, residents and family. Berwick also has the luxury of eight locations, who collaborate to make more educated decisions and share resources.

Nghia, a prep cook and dishwasher at Berwick by the Sea, has loved how staff have stayed positive throughout his first year on the job.

“Everyone’s really relaxed, and the managers are very responsive,” she says.

To learn more about life at Berwick by the Sea, call Dianne Robb at 250-850-1353 or email berwickbythesea@berwickrc.com. Follow Berwick on Facebook and Instagram for the latest updates!

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