On March 16, 2020, the Ladysmith Senior’s Centre was forced to close its doors indefinitely due to the COVID-19 pandemic.
The Ladysmith Seniors Society — which operates the centre — had just decorated the space for their annual St. Patrick’s Day dance. Clovers, leprechauns and streamers had been hung around the centre. Gabriola Island rock and roller Flashback Freddy was booked to rock the centre.
Flash forward to St. Patrick’s Day 2021: the Senior’s Centre is still decorated for the dance that never happened.
“Every major event like Valentines, St. Patty’s, Easter — whatever it is — we always had a party, either a dance or a big dinner,” Ladysmith Senior’s Society president Pat Mannion said.
But since the pandemic began, they haven’t had any gatherings or meetings at all. Their members range in age from 55 to 101 and the senior age cohort is among the most vulnerable to severe illness and death related to COVID-19.
“We’re not equipped to do anything online,” Mannion said. “Mainly we do phone calls and a couple of e-mails here and there, that’s about all. And a lot of word of mouth — speaking to one here and there when you meet them at a distance.”
Mannion said that when the Seniors Society is allowed to gather again they’ll have ‘all kinds’ of activities going on; one of which will certainly be a St. Patrick’s themed dance.