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Grateful Port Coquitlam seniors blow moose whistle, bang pots through medical emergency

Residents of Astoria join what has become a nightly tradition for citizens around the Lower Mainland during the COVID-19 pandemic

Port Coquitlam seniors are joining their neighbours in banging pots and making noise for health care workers and others who are making them safe.

What started as a one-time effort on Good Friday, has become a nightly routine for dozens of residents of the Astoria Retirement Residence in Port Coquitlam.

“We are grateful for everybody who is helping us with what is going on,’” said Shirley Payne, who co-chairs the residents’ council.

The initiative started when neighbours around the Kelly Street complex started banging pots and honking horns.”We thought ‘hey, we’ve got to do this,’” recalled Payne.

Notices were put up in the elevator, questions were answered, and a warm crowd stood on balconies making noise — just as paramedics arrived to deal with an emergency.

“It was like we knew they were coming.”

Fortunately, paramedics handled the emergency and the cheering and pot banging continued. 

Someone even blew a moose horn, Payne said.

It’s gratitude mostly that has everyone participating in the routine, she said. 

“We are extremely grateful to the staff in this building that go over and above looking after us and making sure we are well looked after and well protected. The caregivers are amazing.”

As for health measures, residents have their temperature taken twice a day, visitors are not allowed so families wave to their loved ones from outside the building, and caregivers wear masks and gloves.

Payne said the residents are still finding ways to connect — while also practicing physical distancing — by chatting from their balconies and walking two metres apart around the complex.

“We can walk the perimeter of the building, we use a hockey stick, after all, we’re Canadians.”


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