81 minutes | Apr 9th 2020

Season Two - Episode Nine - Sherbrooke Community Centre

This is probably the most personal episode of YXE Underground I have done. For the past three years, I have worked at Sherbrooke Community Centre, a long-term care home in Saskatoon's east side, as its Communications Leader. It is an incredible place to come every day because of the people who live in the home and the dedicated staff who care for its residents.

There is a rhythm to life at Sherbrooke. Our 263 residents interact with one-another and staff in so many different ways and in so many different venues. It could be while working on a painting in the Arts Studio or doing physical therapy in the pool. It might be tending to a herb garden in the greenhouse or taking a trip around the world through the magic of the International Coffee Club. 

A full and abundant life is what we try and do for each and every resident.

On March 15th, COVID-19 threw Sherbrooke off rhythm. We saw what was happening in other parts of the country, and when the virus made its landing in Saskatchewan, we took steps to keep our residents safe. We closed our doors to families and visitors, we restricted residents to their respective neighbourhoods and houses, and we closed the spaces where residents and staff congregated.

I'm typing this on April 8th and so far, we have had no cases of COVID-19 at Sherbrooke. We are working hard to keep it that way, but we know there is a chance the virus could make its way into our community. When I watch the news (I am watching too much news right now), I am devastated to see what's happening in other care homes in places like Ontario and Quebec. Staff across the country are doing the best they can to keep their residents safe, and I think you'll hear that dedication from Sherbrooke staff in the episode. 

The changes we have made at Sherbrooke were difficult but necessary. That doesn't mean everyone is thrilled about it. It's a challenging time for residents and staff. You will hear that throughout the episode, but you'll also hear a resolve to keep the community safe and that inspires me. 

Wherever you are listening to this episode, I hope that you are safe. It's a surreal time and I know at times in the last month, I have felt overwhelmed with everything that is happening. Maybe you'll draw a little bit of strength and inspiration from this episode. Maybe you'll just laugh at how Dave, one of the residents at Sherbrooke, somehow works in the story of why my nickname at Sherbrooke is JIGGLYPUFF. It's a pretty funny story!

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Stay safe. Keep your physical distance from one-another. Wash your hands, wash your hands, wash your hands!