CIHO Educational

Welcome to COVID in the House of Old’s Educational Resources.

These learning tools support community learning opportunities for secondary and post-secondary educators, students and engaged members of the general public. They can be used by groups visiting CIHO’s in-person exhibit or through accessing the online exhibit.

Educators and facilitators may choose one of the two Activity Pathways or pull from both Pathways.

The Artefacts

Chair Stories are rich short audio-visual narratives about Canadians whose lives intersected with COVID in long-term care, depicted here as much more than victims, survivors or workers.

5 minute chair audios that engage the participant through storytelling.

Artist Hiroki Tanaka’s Elegy is a haunting audio-visual representation of lives lost. Created from aggregate long-term care death statistics, this is about experiencing, reflecting and mourning.

A thoughtful and powerful route for approaching this learning material.

Podcasts by host Megan Davies, take us from the first deaths, through a discussion of rights, history, eldercare, grief and memory making, to a bold plan for a new, kinder House of Old.

Listen to what researchers, journalists, caregivers and residents have to say.

Exhibit Texts is a set of context essays that trace COVID’s impact on long-term care, explore how history haunts these institutions, and propose a radical new and better future for Canadian eldercare.

Wall panels for exhibit visitors or an online booklet for remote participants.

Project Petition is a Change.Org petition that has been created by family project participants, setting out a clear list of goals to Transform Long-Term Care in Canada to Prioritize Quality of Life.

A sensible road map to a better Canadian eldercare system is right here.

Activity Pathway 1: System Change in Eldercare

Consider equity, kindness, and justice with a view to driving big change in the long-term care sector. Insert an ethic of care into how we provide supports for our elders.

Learning Objectives:

  • Recognize injustice in residential care facilities for vulnerable Canadian seniors
  • Identify specific issues and definitive actions as social change goals in our eldercare system

BEGIN by listening to the COVID in the House of Old Podcast Trailer. Ask participants to jot down words or phrases that strike them as significant (depending on the selected activity these will relate to equity, kindness or justice or about remembering COVID in long-term care). Post these in a shared board space for later discussion.

Activity Options:

CHAIRS FOR CHANGE – provide each participant with a sheet of paper with the words “EQUITY” “KINDNESS” and “JUSTICE” across the top. Listening to the Chair Audios, participants note down signs of these values in long-term care and situations where equity, kindness and justice are blocked by attitudes and practices. If time permits, participants can add insights from the Exhibit Texts.  

FOCUSING ON REMEMBRANCE – have participants listen to Podcast #5 Grief, Death and Memory Making as preparation for this activity or play the podcast from 16:00 to 29:00 for the group. Working with groups of 2-3, have participants listen to the Chair Audios and review the Exhibit Texts, reflecting on how Canadians should honour the mass deaths from COVID in long-term care.

SHARED DISCUSSION – complete the activity by bringing the group together to augment their key words and phrases with insights from their activity, identifying 3 key issues and appropriate actions. The group can then decide what next steps they can take to facilitate positive change.

Activity Pathway 2: Understanding Residential Care

Learn how history, policy, economics, and a punitive institutional culture continue to shape our current long-term care system. Review alternative futures for the sector.

Learning Objectives:

  • Understand how past practices and present policy decisions impacted residential care for vulnerable Canadian seniors in the time of COVID
  • Identify sites of future change in eldercare – both necessary and possible

BEGIN by reminding participants that Canada’s long-term institutions reflect a broadly-held ageism, begin this pathway with a personal reflection on lives lost to COVID in long-term care during the long pandemic while listening to the first 4 minutes of Elegy for Long Term Care Homes.  Have participants compose a statement of individual intent for this activity and keep it with them.

Activity Options:

STORY IN CONTEXT WORKSHEET– working independently or in pairs, participants listen to the Chair Audios and use this worksheet to catalogue systemic problems in long-term care as they connect with personal, community and societal attitudes and practices. Participants then use the CIHO Petition and (as time permits) Exhibit Texts to identify sites of potential system change in the sector.

FOCUSING ON DIFFICULT DEATHS – either have participants listen to Podcast #5 Grief, Death and Memory Making as preparation for this activity or play the podcast from 00:00 to 16:00 for the group. Working in pairs or groups of 3 participants then listen to the Chair Audios and review the Exhibit Texts, creating a “wish list” for how Canadian long-term care facilities can rework their attitudes and practices regarding death and dying.

SHARED DISCUSSION – Participants then work in small groups to develop a “Great Idea” for positive system change in long-term care and make a presentation to a full group closing circle. A participant volunteer can pull together the circle’s great ideas and forward them to local care facilities and the appropriate provincial ministry.

TRIGGER WARNING – This teaching material could be challenging or triggering for learners and educators.  Instructors should be aware of counselling supports available in local settings for people who need them.