Owner Johanna Booy started her senior care services 15 years ago.  She says that her Company provides consistent care to seniors by providing essential workers to safely provide care for those most at risk. During COVID we have been challenged, but the availability of PPE’s has made delivery of care possible! Operating our small business is possible due to the committed caregivers on our team.

When reading past submissions to this section, the comment we hear over and over is ‘shop local’.  We are locally owned and operated and are active members of the local Chamber of Commerce.   Even though we are located in Oak Bay, we do serve the Greater Victoria area.    We are active in our community volunteering, training caregivers and are committed to helping our community of seniors!  It’s a given that seniors and their families are shopping local!

Earlier this year we submitted an article regarding the impact of the pandemic on ‘doing business in Victoria’.  Many things have changed due to the pandemic and the challenges we faced then we still face now.  Senior care needs are on the rise for in-home care. As families are choosing to keep their loved ones at home with care, we find ourselves appealing to the community for retired and professional individuals interested in providing care and companionship to join our team.

As a small business we provide Aging in Place services to keep our seniors in the comfort of their own homes for as long as possible.  Proactive private senior care is in demand in the community and in fact enhances and supplements what the already burdened government care provides.  We are not a ‘one size fits all’ Company but utilize an approach that carefully looks at each individual, their likes and dislikes, and matches them up to the exact person we think will be a good fit and do so with consistency.

In past articles, we discussed the ‘best fit approach’ of caregivers for each senior and private care supplies that need.   Many baby boomers are building caregiver suites into their homes for future care as the old models don’t necessarily fit their needs any longer.  Going to a care home or to independent living isn’t their first choice and after having lived in your own home for 40 plus years, many seniors want to stay where they are.

Doing business through the pandemic has been challenging.  We don’t talk about our Company in terms of revenue because we consider our doing business more like a calling than employment.  After all our seniors are not a commodity!

We have a wonderful team of very committed people caring for our clients, and a very dedicated administrative support team is available for caregivers, seniors and families any time of day or night 24/7.

COVID protocols have been in place since the beginning and all PPE’s including isolation gowns, extra scrub sets, masks, gloves, and sanitizer are provided to all our care workers for their shifts and for their vehicles.  COVID has increased our need to be extra careful caring for our seniors in-home.  We schedule the same workers to the same homes and coordinate with families on visits and COVID protocols.  Our caregivers receive weekly updates regarding the changes in our community and their roles with regards to safety.

As a business working during COVID, we thought we would showcase the caregivers – our essential workers – in the community caring for the seniors!  Hear what our caregivers are saying about ‘taking care of business during COVID’ and why they enjoy working with seniors under the umbrella of private care.

Tanya:  Why do you think the addition of private care is important for seniors?

Private care gives seniors the opportunity to choose what they want and need for care.  It gives them a voice in how they will be cared for.  They can choose how often they want care and have the option to change caregivers when they don’t feel a connection to that person.  They have more flexibility when using a private agency.  Without the option of private care they have to accept whatever help they’re given.  This might not meet all their needs, involve a stream of different caregivers and result in an unhappy situation for the senior who desperately needs help.

Debbie: Why do you like working with private care as a companion/caregiver?

I enjoy working with seniors and providing different types of care to each individual client.  It makes it very personal and for some clients they really look forward to your visit.  I also like that we are able to build a relationship and get to know the client you are working with.  Working for a small company makes it feel like a family and you are able to always call the office for any help you need.


Anita:  Why does working with a small company work for you?


“Love what you do, do what you love”

Caring for seniors is my greatest joy.  It’s not what I do for them, as much as the pleasure and enjoyment each senior shows when we are there to work with them each day.  It’s the circle of life, giving back to the ones we love. Working with a small Company is beneficial for me.  I get to pick the shifts that work for me, I have a say in care, I’m listened to and they are thankful for everything I do.  Knowing they are with me every step of the way! Best job ever!  Best Company to work for.


Nancy:  How do I make a difference in my senior’s lives?

 A lot of the seniors we care for just want some company; they want someone to tell their stories to. I take away the loneliness they feel everyday especially during these uncertain times. I bring them peace of mind helping them with tasks around their homes, making a delicious meal for them, getting their groceries and taking them to their appointments etc.  I make them as comfortable as possible in their homes where they wish to stay rather than the alternative of going to a home.  It’s not a job – it’s a purpose!

Elizabeth: Why do I like providing senior care?

I do the work I do because I want to make a difference in the lives of my clients. I want them to have the experience of someone caring deeply about them, their health, comfort and wellbeing. I value private care companies because they enable clients to have consistent caregivers who can provide this to them.


The Times Colonist business section is entitled “taking care of business”.  We love ‘taking care of business’ doing what we love – and loving what we do! As a business we are committed to the community we live in and serve.  In Victoria, private and public work together for a common good – providing seniors with the care they need in the home.  One cannot do without the other!


Bill told his daughter, “I thought it was COVID and no one can go outside!  Every time I look out my window cars go by non-stop!”  She explained that people are allowed outdoors but with certain precautionary measures, but Bill has dementia and is in an Assisted Living facility.  He cannot understand why “the rest of the world” is able to do things, and he can’t.

Bill lives in a Community of Care along side Independent & Assisted Living residents with the choice to move to Complex Care when the need arises.  His biggest complaint when speaking to family is “I’m lonely – so lonely I just want the end to come”.  His hearing is poor, and it’s difficult for him to make conversations with residents.  The only real communal times are meals, and when meals are over everyone goes back to their rooms.

Bill used to walk to the grocery store for his specialty food items such as candy and ice-cream.  He also used his scooter, but due to snow he did not go out much last winter.  When COVID hit in March, they were locked down at his Assisted Living facility, and he could not use his scooter.  His health, and cognitive function has slipped to the extent that it is dangerous for Bill to ride his scooter in the community so with his physician’s recommendation, it was sold.

In six months Bill experienced so many changes in his life.  He moved from his home to Assisted Living, lost his wife to cancer, lost his driver’s licence, sold his car, experienced the affects of COVID, and had his scooter sold.  So much change in such a short time impacts the older senior’s memory, mood and function.

Our elders, began life with the Great Depression and a World War.  One senior remarked “this is just like war – it’s just a different kind”.  The same isolation and quarantine protection measures are in place that our seniors can relate to from their youth.

Gladys and Arthur live in Assisted Living.  They are a special couple as one supports the other.  Arthur has a great mind and a strong body, but Gladys’ memory is failing her.  As a team they manage well.   They told their companion/caregiver “we went out to our old property last week to see it for one more time before it sells”.  When the caregiver asked how they managed to slip by the front desk Arthur responded, “We know a special side door to leave from and the taxi picks us up and drops us off there”.   This is one couple that knew how to work the rules.  They enjoyed a summer of freedom slipping in and out of their residence and travelling on outings with a companion.

Shirley called to ask if there was someone that could play games with her mom.  She is 98, and her siblings lived to be 103, and 104.  Shirley says her mother has been isolated for 6 months and is becoming despondent and depressed.  “The isolation is killing her”, as Shirley bursts into tears.

Ruth lived in Independent living residence, but was room bound due to a fall.  Her meals were served up to her suite.  She had a companion 3x per week, to visit and go for a walk.  Unfortunately, those visits were dropped when COVID started in March.  The caregiver calls Ruth instead and they visit by phone. On one of her visits Ruth said she was so lonely.  When asked how she could be lonely living in the building, she said even though everyone knows she’s had a fall, they don’t stop to knock and check in to see how she is doing.

Seniors living in their own homes that are no longer driving often find they are very isolated.  However here is a wonderful example of a 103 year old living on the Gulf Islands in his own home.  Receiving visits 3 times daily from Home & Community Care, the neighbours and friends have provided emotional, physical, and home supports for Ben for the past 13 years.  They cleaned his home, cut his grass, brought him his baking and meals. This summer he passed away, and throughout COVID he was cared for and attended to in a most loving manner.

Further complicating matters, families have agonized over not being able to visit their parent or spouse at hospital as visits have been very restricted.

Heading into fall and winter and further anticipated restrictions, we spoke with our team about strategies to deal with and prevent feelings of isolation.  How do we meet the needs of the isolated senior?  How can the residences offer up more to do to engage all seniors?

We’d like to share these thoughts with you.

  • Virtual Field Trips – movies, books, magazines of animals or countries
  • Set Up a Seating Area Outside – visit from afar
  • Keep Entertainers Outdoors – entertain from the patio
  • Livestream Entertainers – in the common room of the facility
  • Make Pen Pals
  • Have children do drawings for seniors
  • Set up dedicated facetime, zoom or Alexa for your parent on iPad/computer or iPhone
  • Hire a regular caregiver to make telephone visits with your parent
  • Have the family responsible for regular daily calls so there are numerous touch points throughout the day

Isolation is not only affecting our seniors, as families are burdened with guilt over not being able to fly to see aging parents, and grandparents are bereft at not being able to hold their little ones.  Be kind to yourself and to others, and put into place coping strategies to help you through these difficult times.





Entering what we now coin ‘phase 2’ of re-entry to society, many of us are still working through the ‘Covid Haze’.  So many have had to turn their backs on their businesses, their livelihood, and routines.  As we start to re-enter society, there are new rules and safety regulations.

Our office has designed new Health & Safety standards that conform to the phase 2 requirements.  It’s wonderful to see how various businesses ‘do’ distancing in vehicles or at the workplace.  A landscape truck with two people in front, both wearing masks and the windows down by half, are happily working again, but it sure looks different.

Who knows where we are going, and how much things will change.  One thing for sure is that as we all adapt to the changes, we now more than ever have to realize that not everyone is bouncing back to their ‘normal’ – not even close!  Many families cannot pay their mortgage payments.  Businesses are losing money, not able to support their staff or families.  Deferrals are fine, but in the end one still has to pay.  Depression is rampant.

The first saying to be coined almost immediately, was ‘we are in this together’.  Then remember – if we are in it together, and you are one of the fortunate ones to re-enter the workforce, receive subsidy payments, the CERB and support from family and friends – then reach out to your neighbour.  Not everyone is coming through this COVID haze in one piece.  Families and couples are falling apart.  Businesses are closing their doors – hours, sweat and tears that business owners have put into their livelihood – gone! They aren’t reaching out.  It’s our job to do that – open your eyes – listen to what is around you and step outside of yourself to help one another.  Listen for cries of help – save a life today.


As a member of the Chamber of Commerce, an active member of this community and business owner, I am well aware of the many effects this pandemic has had on local businesses. One has only to look around at the many closed or for lease signs around us.

Our business is unique in that we are ‘front line workers’ and continue to provide service to seniors who need assistance at home.  Now more than ever, it is increasingly important that our seniors have someone check in on them on a regular basis.

We are fortunate that we can get up each day, dress for work, work our regular 9-5, and continue to provide care.   Following a routine greatly helps psychologically.  Being open means our signs are out, the lights are on, people walking by see a viable business operating despite COVID.

What impact has COVID had on our business?  We have had our challenges – what business hasn’t. We have lost a number of our senior clients who live in residence at care homes due to the fact that they are not allowing outside workers or family members to visit.  It is very likely that we will see new legislation regarding staffing and companion care at care homes.   This is just one of the ‘new ways of doing business’ changes we will see.

Another impact of COVID is our ability to provide staffing for our seniors and a real challenge was to find workers for the new client! Many of our workers were not earning enough or were caring for children and had to resign or be laid off.  At the earliest stages of relief, one could not be sure if employees could work as well as receive the CERB. When the government announced workers receiving CERB could also earn up to $1000 in addition, this brought back some of our workforce.  Good news for us!  Many caregivers fear returning to work as they have children or are retired themselves and fear COVID because of their age!

Many families were concerned that we were putting good health practises in place.   Were the caregivers supplied with the tools they required to do their work?  Letters were written to families to ensure them we were doing all we could to provide safe care and to update them on government policies as we received them which we incorporated. Newsletters were and still are being sent out to families, and caregivers announcing new legislations, regulations and assuring families of our commitment to care.

Occupational health and safety regulations have been upgraded in our workplace to meet the standards of Provincial and Federal government.  Our families and clients can be assured that caregivers will be following proper protocols.

COVID has brought people together – it isn’t just a challenge, a fear or threat!  At the beginning acquiring PPE such as gloves, masks and sanitizer was very difficult and were not available to us as front line workers.  Earlier in April, we had a call out to assist with sourcing masks, gloves and sanitizer.  To our rescue, came Lorianne Koch, her daughter Grace and Erin & Nancy Alexander.  They’ve been sewing masks to support essential service employees as they saw the need and called us to see how many we needed.  They are lovely and fit well, are colourful, bright and cheery.  We were so excited!

COVID has brought us new challenges, and new sayings.  I’ve heard a few kicked about.  I used to kid around with my grandson who would come to work with me to answer phones on holidays.  I’d say, “another day, another dollar” but now it’s changed to “one foot in front of the other”, and others are saying ‘one day at a time’.  This could be our ‘new normal’!


The end is now in sight. How that will play out for future recurrences or a second wave has yet to be seen. Does this mean that all three ‘posts’ need to be a thing of the past? Not at all. The occurrence of the common cold, and regular flu has also been reduced throughout this process of self-distancing. When I’m at the park, people give each other wide berth, and one was heard to tell “I think this is something that is going to be part of my future”

And why not? Should we give up all these safe practices once we are once again free to carry on business as usual? Why would we? Are we once again going to grocery shop sick, coughing over the deli counter recounting to your friend at the same counter, that you’ve never been so sick in your life! As you cough once more without covering your mouth?

For ourselves, our employees and our families, these safe practices must continue to be in place:

Self quarantine if you have a bad cold and cough. Do not go outdoors where you can be in contact with others. Take the most contagious period of your cold, cough or fever, and stay indoors – at home!

Self isolate if you or a family member may be sick. Be cautious when outdoors that you maintain distance. Self-isolate is not the same as quarantine.

Self distance if you believe you may still be contagious. Self distance to protect yourself and your loved ones. Self distance simply to provide a better level of health for all!

Senior Care Victoria wants to encourage you to connect with your elderly family members, friends or acquaintances during this difficult and isolating time. Although face to face isn’t possible, there are different ways to connect  such as  calling them on the phone, FaceTime, WhatsApp or Zoom.  Our seniors in independent living, assisted living and care homes are the most isolated of all and are feeling the hit the hardest. One 89 year old senior of Dutch decent remarked when called by his daughter “I had the best day, not just a few phone calls but one from my friend Bert that sometimes takes me to Church.  He had the old Dutch hymn book from when we were kids, and we sang Dutch hymns together for a long time.  It was wonderful!  …. As he launches off into one of the hymns which he knows all the words by heart”  This is what reaching out to seniors is about.  We need to reach out further than our curbs, our back yards, our parks and community to think of those truly shut in.  These are the most vulnerable and it brings new meaning to the term ‘they died from loneliness’.  Reach out to someone today.  Remember an old relative whose heart will be filled with joy and given a reason to live on.  Believe me, we’ve heard many a senior say ‘I’m ready to go’.  They lived through a war, and a depression, and for many they are saying it’s the worst thing that has happened since that time. Take one person and make them your daily contact – tell them you are thinking about them, praying for strength for them or there for them to call you and talk to.