Strict, inconsistent care home rules frustrate families as other Manitoba restrictions relax

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Seniors’ advocate questions rigid care home constraints when those 70-plus are most-vaccinated age group

For Marlene Perrin, it was business as usual when she visited her parents at their southwestern Manitoba care home earlier this week. 

She put on the required face mask and eye protection, though she knew it would mean Bob and Peggy Hysop, both of whom have dementia, would not recognize her.

Perrin and her niece sat with them in the heat at a small table in front of the Bayside Personal Care Home, one of the Killarney site’s few visiting areas.

Hours earlier, officials had announced a sweeping rollback of Manitoba’s pandemic rules that included scrapping almost all mask requirements, and eliminating or easing capacity limits and gathering restrictions. 

But in care homes, things haven’t changed much. Masks are still required, and while residents who are fully vaccinated can have visits indoors now, some rules are still as strict as ever.

That leaves families like Perrin’s baffled, especially with vaccination uptake highest among the elderly in Manitoba. Among Manitoba’s entire eligible population, just over 72 per cent of people have at least one dose, but for those over 70, the rate is above 96 per cent.

“There was such a push to get them vaccinated,” Perrin said.

“I’m sure it gave them some level of protection. But as far as their daily lives, nothing changed. And that was extremely, extremely frustrating for them and for me.”

Laura Tamblyn Watts, CEO of the national seniors’ advocacy group CanAge, said that discrepancy seems ironic.

“It’s very hard to understand how the restrictions in the general population are being lifted when there are lower vaccination rates there, but not in personal care homes where the vaccination rates are very high,” she said from Sandy Cove, N.S.


Canada’s National Seniors’ Advocacy Organization

Factor-Inwentash Faculty of Social Work
University of Toronto

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