Providing Care & Support
to People With Disabilities

Developing New, Exciting and Innovative
Supports for Individuals Since 1986

OPTIONS and Coronavirus (COVID-19)




OPTIONS Operations Update

March 17, 2020    4:15pm

Day Program  *** Closed until March 27, 2020***

We are and will be following the guidelines as set out by Alberta Health Services and the Alberta Provincial Government .

This closure will be extended as required.

Our Day Program, Residential and Supportive Roommate management teams have met and are working together to provide immediate supports for those most in need.

Our strategy is as follows:

  1. Check to see who is in the most pressing need of supports. Then arrange to meet those needs or find resources to assist in addressing those needs.
  2. Provide supports to our internal OPTIONS family by arranging resources  enabling work from home options and action plans on next steps.
  3. Engaging new teleconferencing and video conferencing technology resources (which will role out later this week), allowing for meetings, training and communications to continue.

Zoom as well as Facebook Live are a few of the resources being looked at, as a way to offer day program classes and stay connected. Music, art and cooking may be some of the initial classes to be offered. There are amazing ideas coming forward of how to use these tools for instruction.

Look for details of how to start connecting this Friday March 20.


OPTIONS Operations Update

March 16, 2020    8:45pm

Day Program  *** Closed for the remainder of the week***

Monday March 16 through Friday March 20

We are working on plans to provide the best supports in different ways. Thank you for your patience as we turn these ideas in to actions.

 Thank you to our amazing team for bringing forward some wonderful ideas and stepping up to help wherever and however they can.

We all will need support in different ways and to know that we are being heard. We are here to support you, no matter what your role is. 


Information from the Office of the Public Guardian

OPTIONS Operations Update

March 15, 2020    7:00pm

Day Program  *** Closed effective Monday March 16, 2020*** 

The Day Program closure is following the press conference from the Alberta Government at 4:30pm today.

OPTIONS will be gathering further information and guidance on Monday to provide a longer term strategy of how we can all support each other through this difficult time.

Thank you to everyone for stepping up and helping where you can during this time.

We will confirm any further closures by late Monday afternoon.

We are strongly recommending to the individuals we support, their families and our Supportive Roommates, to please stay home. OPTIONS Day Program will be closed. If the individual in your home attends a different day program, check with that program to see if they are open.

It will be helpful, to each of us, if we can check on each other. Making sure we are all coping as well as we can through this process. And that we have what we need, whether it be emotional or other support. Over the coming days this will be incredibly important.

We have an amazing family of people we work with, who support wonderful individuals and their families. We will get through this together.

Please know that we are working with our fellow agencies, PDD and other organizations to develop strategies ensuring continued supports are in place.

Thank you for your understanding, patience and continued generosity.

Elaine Yost & Sean Yost

Our Mental Health

March 15, 2020

In the past week there has been a tremendous amount of information we have all been exposed to. It all can be overwhelming. We all need to find resources to be able to feel more prepared. When it is not clear how long this may last, it makes it difficult to know how and what to prepare for. We are fortunate to have ongoing conversations with mental health specialists. They remind us that this is temporary, and there are things we can do.

The World Health Organization website shares that Community self-help and social support should be strengthened, for example by creating or re-establishing community groups in which members solve problems collaboratively and engage in activities such as emergency relief or learning new skills, while ensuring the involvement of people who are vulnerable and marginalized.

It is important to not become over isolated.

This list of ideas comes from the suggestions of mental health specialists:

  • Look after yourself; eat healthily and get rest.
  • Talk with family, friends and neighbours about how you can help each other.
  • Reach out and keep in contact with those who may need assistance.
    • Video calls – Facetime and Skype are the most popular.
    • Phone calls
  • There is no need to stop doing things, just do them differently.
    • Use our non-dominant hands to open doors and touch things you would normally use your dominant hand for.
      • You will be less likely to touch your face with your non-dominant hand.
    • Wash our hands or use sanitizer more frequently.
  • Limit the number of sources for information.
    • Sometimes too much information is difficult to digest.
  • Question the source – is the author credible.
    • Be cautious with information from social media.
  • Try and limit exposure to sensationalized stories.
    • Whether it is TV or social media.
  • Find a few credible websites to follow.
  • In social situations where there are more than two people.
    • Use social distancing when possible. Maintaining a distance of 1 meter (3 feet).
    • Limit the amount of physical contact.

OPTIONS Pandemic Planning Update

March 13, 2020

OPTIONS Management Team is implementing the following precautionary measures, effective Monday 16th, 2020.  Given the speed of change these measures may be adjusted frequently and as necessary.  Please ensure that you visit the OPTIONS website to ensure you have received the most current information.  Until further notice the following changes will be implemented:

PHONE USE:  Staff and Supportive Roommates in all OPTIONS service areas are encouraged to opt for phone and e-mail communications in place of in-office or in-person meetings.

HOME VISITS:  Residential Support Facilitators will discontinue home visits until further notice, unless it is an emergency.  They will maintain contact via phone, email and if possible, Skype.  

STAFF TRAINING:  Staff training will be postponed until further notice.  

ISP MEETINGS:  OPTIONS recommends that ISP scheduled meetings be maintained but be held via phone conference or Skype. Individuals, Guardians/Parents, and other service providers and PDD representatives will be asked to participate but avoid in-person meetings.

DIRECT SUPPORT TO INDIVIDUALS:  All OPTIONS staff and clients are encouraged to take the following precautions when accessing community locations:  Implement boundaries (2 meters between groups of people, when possible)l; avoid crowded community spaces; and access outside activities when weather permits.

HYGIENE:  All staff and Supportive Roommates are reminded and encouraged to disinfect work-spaces, high traffic areas, and their hands at least once per hour.  Please follow Alberta Health Services and Government of Canada Public Health Services guidelines on hygiene.  Soap and water is preferable to hand sanitizers.  

CLIENT HYGIENE:  Staff are reminded to support clients to regularly wash their hands, including after transit use, washroom use, before eating.  Staff should support clients to use soap and water but if that is not possible, use hand sanitizer, if available.  It is also helpful to facilitate discussions regarding appropriate hygiene and the spread of germs.  

TRAVEL PLANS:  OPTIONS staff and Supportive Roommates are asked to report any travel plans to their Supervisor or to Human Resources.  In addition, staff and Supportive Roommates should report any contact they have had with family or friends who have recently travelled outside of Canada or have returned and require the 14 day self-quarantine period.  

E-Mail Check-in:  As new information becomes available, OPTIONS Administrative Team will update staff families/parents/Guardians and Supportive Roommates, whenever possible, via e-mail and through the web-site.  Staff, Supportive Roommates and families/parents/Guardians should check their e-mail prior to visiting OPTIONS, the location of their son/daughter or to community-based meeting points.  If the individual you support is able to stay home during this acute period, it would be very appreciated.  Thank you for your support and cooperation.

OPTIONS is committed to provide important information regarding the Coronavirus (COVID-19) outbreak and what we are doing in response.

The World Health Organization (WHO) has officially declared Coronavirus (COVID-19) outbreak a global pandemic, and notes that containment should be the major focus.  Further to this, Health Canada has asked all Canadians to help slow the spread of the virus to reduce the immense pressure on our health care system.

OPTIONS is taking this call to action seriously, and the well being of our community continues to be our top priority.  We are making every effort to ensure our clients, their families and our employees are safe and informed, while preventing the spread of illness in our various locations.  

We hope this gives you some clarification and confidence and reassurance during this stressful and confusing time. OPTIONS remains committed to providing our clients and employees a safe environment, and to work together for the protection of our whole community.

We are making the best decisions we can with the information we have, but what we know today, could change tomorrow.

We will continue to monitor and undergo a detailed risk analysis as this situation develops, and will provide pertinent updates as needed.  Please know your health, safety and privacy remain front and center in our decision making.  Thank you for your cooperation, patience, understanding and support. 

Elaine Yost and Sean Yost


What Is The Risk

The risk of exposure in Alberta is still assessed as low at this time, however we anticipate this risk may increase in the coming weeks.
More information can be found at the AHS website.

What Is OPTIONS Specifically Doing

  • Following the lead of authorities, OPTIONS Administration team are reviewing protocols daily, and discuss updates and next steps, with a focus on preparedness, vigilance and responsiveness.
  • Our already rigorous cleaning protocols have been amplified by increasing cleaning frequency.
  • Our staff are working with our clients to better understand this complex situation and are teaching them about proper hygiene and the risks of sharing food, technology, equipment and other materials.
  • We are currently planning in the event the Day Program may need to be closed; a decision would be made in consultation with health authorities, and would not be made lightly.  Any definitive decisions regarding closure will be communicated with you immediately.
  • We continue to collaborate with other agencies, and PDD.

What Can You Do

  • Practice proper hygiene to reduce the risk of infection or spreading infection to others.
  • If you are unwell, with symptoms like fever, cough, or difficulty breathing, please do not come to the day program.  
  • Some staff, clients and families are talking about this on a daily basis, and some are understandably worried given some of our clients are quite fragile. Please have open conversations to ensure there is understanding of this complex issue.  We want to ensure people feel safe.
  • No handshakes or approaching closer than 1m from each other
  • Increase frequency of hand washing. At least twice every hour. 
  • When sneezing, cover off. Reliable sources indicate the benefit of this simple approach.
  • If feeling ill, stay home and notify supervisor.
  • If had contact with anyone that recently traveled to, or from any of the high risk countries, notify supervisor before showing up to work.
  • Attendance to conferences or events with high concentrations of people are not advised.

Regarding Travel

Please be advised that in support of a focus on containment, health officials are recommending that we avoid travel outside of Canada. OPTIONS current stance is to ask individuals exercise best judgment in deciding whether to travel.  It is advisable to form this judgment by carefully weighing several important considerations.

Recommendation   Countries Return
Level3 Avoid non-essential travel China, Iran, Italy Clearance from a doctor is essential.
Level2 Practice Special Precautions South Korea, Japan Two-week self-isolation or clearance from a doctor.
Level1 Practice Special Precautions France, Spain, Germany, Hong Kong, Singapore Two-week self-isolation or clearance from a doctor.
Not Rated   All other countries Do not come to work or the day program if you are experiencing any symptoms related to Covid-19.


  • If you choose to travel to a country identified as a Level 1-4 risk, we ask that you advise us and plan to follow the Alberta Health Services guidelines to self-isolate upon your return.  Everyone needs to play a role in keeping us safe.
  • If you are in a foreign country and it is elevated to a Level 1-4 country, when you return to Calgary, please proceed with the necessary precautions as outlined in the table above.
  • If you are identified as being at risk of COVID-19 at an airport, border, or by a doctor, please do not return to work until written clearance has been provided by a medical professional.
  • If you have recently travelled, contact Alberta Health at 811 within 24 hours of arriving in Canada for advice.  Note:  Wait times are becoming longer by the day due to increased call volume.  
  • Avoid all cruise ship travel.
  • As we are now in a global pandemic, seriously consider all travel plans and check with medical authorities regularly in light of this rapidly changing situation.  If you must travel, follow active travel health notices and be aware of the risks.  There are several active travel health notices for COVID-19.  Each country or area may have different levels of risk.  These risk levels will likely change as the COVID-19 event evolves. 


Contact Us

Send us an email and we'll get back to you, asap.

Not readable? Change text. captcha txt

Start typing and press Enter to search