'There may still be a stigma': Saskatoon senior’s home focuses on mental health

A Saskatoon retirement home is encouraging residents to prioritize their mental health amid the COVID-19 pandemic.

Residents at Preston Park Retirement Residence 1 played games designed to break the silence around mental illness on Wednesday.

Seniors shared ways they focus on their mental well-being — especially during the pandemic.

Greg Trotter, a resident at Preston Park, says video calling was crucial when visitor restrictions were in place.

“In the last two years, with the COVID situation, we haven’t been going out much so the telephone and FaceTime and emails are invaluable,” Trotter says.

He says the staff and residents have gotten closer since the pandemic.

“We’ve been really a family because for a long time we weren’t able to go out and family wasn’t able to come in. We supported each other in the highs and lows,” Trotter tells CTV News.

Kristen Mathieson, the lifestyle director at the residence, says there can be a stigma among older adults and mental illness.

“There may still be a stigma in older adults because that’s something that wasn’t discussed when they were younger, so it’s something definitely new to this generation,” Mathieson says.

Wednesday is Bell Let’s Talk Day, an annual campaign, in its 12th year, that aims to raise awareness and end stigma about mental health.

Bell Let’s Talk Day activities were included in Spirit Week at the residence. This year’s Spirit Week features activities and snacks inspired by the TV series Ted Lasso.

CTV News is a division of Bell Media.