Orleans, ON – Makhena Katerie Rankin Guerin works at a long-term care home in Orleans, Ontario. She also lives there – for now.
Guerin is a 17-year old member of IAM Local 1295 and delivers care to the seniors in her charge. She has worked at the Ottawa Symphony Senior Living Orleans since she was 14, collecting garbage on a part-time basis. When she turned 16, she was offered a “care” position. She accepted.
Guerin’s mother, suffering from auto-immune disease is also a resident at the home and when the COVID-19 pandemic hit, Makhena visited her daily. Her mother, concerned about her daughter contracting the illness, gave her a choice to either stay away or move into the home. Makhena chose to stay.
Living full-time at the home, Guerin works, volunteers and helps other residents. “I consider them almost, like a second family,’ said Guérin. “That bond is so valuable to me.” She is planning to be at the home until the pandemic is over and she isn’t needed anymore.
Dancing started at an early age for Guerin. “Basic footwork,” she says, started at around age 7. From there she studied and practiced more complex forms until she progressed to her current level of expertise.
Guerin started performing hoop dances at the home a year ago when she saw that some residents were filled with anxiety. “The hoop dance is a medicinal dance. It relieves their anxiety. It’s emotional and mental medicine,” she said. She initially performed a medicinal hoop dance but is now performing other hoop dances as well.
Naturopathic and indigenous medicines are important to Makhena. “Our bodies are more receptive to those medicines,” she said.
Although the pandemic has delayed her studies, Makhena is hoping to graduate from high school in 2021. She wants to have a career in healthcare.
No cases of COVID-19 have been reported at the home.
You can follow Makhena’s Instagram account: makhena_g
This article was originally posted on the IAM Canada website. View the original post here: Dancing to Heal – IAM member works and dances during COVID-19