Local seniors staying cognitively active

Three seniors at Tillsonburg Retirement Residence who stayed cognitively active during the pandemic isolation period included, from left, Anna Kormany, Kay Tully and Walter Hird. (Contributed photos)

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The senior population, and in particular the retirement sector, have been badly hit during the COVID-19 pandemic.

But during the time of isolation there were was also positivity in the community, and it was evident at Tillsonburg Retirement Residence.

“As a management team at Tillsonburg Retirement Residence, we decided early to enhance our protection while in the community in order to protect our vulnerable residents,” said Shelley Langley, director of Community Relations. “We survived as a COVID free residence and remain in that position.”

Langley cited three specific examples of residents showing some “incredible ways” they were able to keep themselves cognitively busy during the isolation period.

Their newest resident, Walter Hird, had just arrived from Trenton, and Langley learned that sewing was his hobby.

“He has taught himself to use a sewing machine and spends his days making double-sided, machine-washable, recyclable cloth bags,” said Langley. “His daughter chooses the liner and outer fabric to match and he spends hours cutting and sewing.”

Langley was able to connect him with the manager at Sobey’s Tillsonburg where his ‘Man Made Bags’ are for sale in the craft section.

Anna Kormany is another resident very good with crafts.

“She has been a resident here for a couple of years, and has completed many crafts including crocheted towels, knit puppies and most recently wreaths.”

Kormany’s daughter contacted her during the pandemic to see if she would sew a T-shirt quilt with shirts collected over the years. Kormany accepted the challenge and used Pinterest for inspiration.

“In just a couple of days she created a gorgeous quilt for her daughter,” said Langley.

Kormany’s crafts are available upon request. Call the Tillsonburg Retirement Residence office (519-688-0347) for information.

Kay Tully not only kept herself busy doing challenging puzzles of 1,000 or more pieces, but she also embraced technology. At age 96, Tully quickly learned how to use an iPad and YouTube to watch Pastor Paul Robinson from St. Andrew’s Church in Tillsonburg.

“Kay missed spending time at church and the sermons so this was a nice way for her to connect,” said Langley.

During the pandemic, Tully, a Second World War veteran, also spent time with Langley on May 7 (VE Day) as they reminisced with Tully’s military service photos.

“It was a great honour that I got to share my knowledge of technology with Kay during the pandemic,” said Langley.