Deaf Resident Sees What’s Behind the Mask
March 10th, 2021

By Barbara Sutherland

Because of COVID, employee care partners are required to wear masks when they interact with residents. That’s been particularly difficult for a much-beloved resident at Golden Sands. Virginia Deschambeau lost her hearing later in life and now relies on lip-reading to follow what people are saying.

Virginia Has Adapted by Using a Whiteboard

“Virginia has made this challenging part of her journey and has adapted by using a whiteboard,” says care partner Mary-Jane Carmichael, “Care partners write a message on the board, and Virginia reads it to herself and responds. The whiteboard has become an essential tool in helping her live her best life.”

“Virginia’s sense of humour is well intact and her face absolutely glows when she smiles,” says Mary-Jane. “She enjoys the simple things in life. A good laugh, a game of cards, and has recently taken up Connect Four, Kerplunk, and dominoes. The foam dominoes are lined up and tipped, and the tumbling dominoes make Virginia laugh out with pure joy.”

She Spreads Joy

“She spreads such joy throughout her cottage, and soon everyone around her is smiling and sharing in the same joy and fun,” adds Mary-Jane. “Virginia shares conversations with other (non-masked) residents in her care, and truly glows when she can share her first language (Cree) with another resident.”

“For all of life’s triumphs and tragedies, Virginia still has a lot to teach us about making the best of what we have. Age may have taken away her hearing but it certainly has not dimmed her light.”

Photo: Golden Sands resident, Virginia Deschambeau, is able to see what employee care partners are saying behind their masks – when they put it in writing on Virginia’s whiteboard.