Dear Members of Perth Seniors Fellowship
ITS UP TO YOU
At a time when we have been informed that in Canada, our Covid 19 vaccines may not reach most of us until next fall, and when our leaders, scientific and political, release conflicting advice or establish policies with inconsistencies, Boards operating activities for seniors are hard pressed to know what is safe and what is not. We do everything we can to keep the inside of McMartin House free of contamination and (with the cooperation of some activities that have accepted their own responsibilities in this regard), have in fact opened partially.
Nonetheless, the Perth Seniors Fellowship, like the Boards at every other “Seniors Active Living Centre” in Ontario, is legally responsible for managing and operating McMartin House safely and securely as a centre for Seniors’ Activities. At the same time, we are being pressed by members and renters offering activities or services to re-open McMartin House more fully.
There is potentially a greater concern on the horizon—the advent of new, mutant strains of the COVID-19 virus. At this point, our scientific community does not seem to know with any certainty the virulence or pathogenicity of such strains. These are terms concerned respectively with the ability of the virus to cause harm and the severity of its effects. According to Wikipedia, “Virulence is a pathogen's or microbe's ability to cause damage to a host. In most contexts, especially in animal systems, virulence refers to the degree of damage caused by a microbe to its host. The pathogenicity of an organism—its ability to cause disease—is determined by its virulence factors”. ( https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Virulence )
We also have some practical, common sense concerns. We deal with seniors, and seniors often are often immunosuppressed to varying degrees. The greater the degree of immunosuppression, the greater the risk of infectivity. At the same time, while children are seldom infected, they may carry and transmit the virus. Seniors have families, visit families and in some cases may carry the virus back to activities with their peers.
In view of all of the above, we are trying, as a Board, to resist opening activities where the median age would suggest that an activity has a large proportion of older seniors –potentially the most “immunocompromised” groups. We are also advising that those attending or thinking of attending our opened activities need to pay attention to their own degree of risk. We shall be negotiating each request to reopen any activity that has a large number of indivdual members deemed to be at special risk.
However, our individual members must bear responsibility for themselves. Each member must use their knowledge of their own health, especially of any degree of immunosuppression, and apply their own “common sense” to assess their own exposure to risk. Each individual must decide whether an activity open because COVID-19 19 restrictions have been lifted (and of interest to them) is or is not safe for their attendance. We cannot do this for you.
PSF is very grateful to have been the beneficiary in 2019 of a substantial In-Trust award from the Meriama Fund, which has helped us to develop and maintain the “Mary Bowrin Boardroom” within McMartin House. Additonal grants have subsequently helped to finance selected maintenance projects within McMartin House. In February 2021, a second major donation from the Meriama fund was received and will greatly help Perth Seniors Fellowship to survive the Covid 19 crisis financially and continue to carry out these responsibiities.
The new Mary Bowrin Boardroom seats 8 comfortably. Its central feature is a large double pedestal oak board table styled to be complementary with the heritage of McMartin House. Other features include conference chairs with armrests, a historic (now decorative) fireplace, oven and cook top, sink, coffeemaker, microwave, printer, projection screen and other accessories commonly needed or useful at Board meetings. For pictures of the new Mary Bowrin Boardroom and information on rentals, click the Mary Bowrin Boardroom tab at the upper right on our home page.
Raymond Cho, the Government of Ontario's Minister for Seniors and Accessibilty, has asked us to share the following information:
Ontario is committed to keeping seniors healthy but untreated oral care can lead to future chronic diseases and reduced quality of life. That is why our government launched the Ontario Seniors Dental Care Program, which will provide free routine dental care for eligible low-income seniors across the province. Ontarians aged 65 and over with an income of $19,300 or less, or couples with a combined annual income of $32,300 or less, who do not have dental benefits, will qualify for the Ontario Seniors Dental Care Program.
The new dental care program will be available through public health units, including some mobile dental clinics, as well as participating Community Health Centres and Aboriginal Health Access Centres. A new user-friendly web portal to apply for the program is now open and can be accessed via ontario.ca/SeniorsDental. Seniors can also pick up an application form at their local public health unit.
To find out more, please call: 416-916-0204 or Toll-Free 1-833-207-4435; TTY 1-800-855-0511
At the September 19th 2019 Meeting of the Perth Seniors fellowship Board of Directors, recently retired Board Member Maxine McEachern was named Honourary Member of Perth Seniors Fellowship. This award recognizes special personal contributions assisting PSF to accomplish its Mission of "Serving social, intellectual and recreational needs of our mature adult community while preserving the heritage of McMartin House." Previous recipients include John McCluskey, Keith Buchanan and the late Mary Bowrin, Helena Hardy, Judy Burns,and Gus Quattrrochi.