TABER, ALTA. -- Residents staying at the Clearview Lodge in Taber, most of whom grew up with dial telephones and snail mail, are turning to YouTube to help  them connect with family in the midst of the COVID-19 pandemic.

“(We) showed it on the big screen TV to all the residents and they were very excited to see it  and surprised by the number of hits we have had,” said lodge manager Joan Hart.

“We made it like (Clearview resident)  Bea (Osterman) said, so that the residents could say hello to their family and just to let them know that they were still safe.”

The video has several residents holding up signs which say “I love my family”, “Can’t wait to hug you” and “Hang in there.” In the background Pharrell Williams’ song 'Happy' plays as well as Bobby McFerrin’s 'Don’t Worry be Happy'.

“Bea”, short for Beatrice Osterman, is a resident at the lodge. “(They're) fun to make for the simple reason I can get to say hi to my family,” said Osterman. “They went around with a camera, (and) they said smile.”

Osterman is used to having her daughters visit daily and, stays with her son in Medicine Hat two to three days a month. But due to the coronavirus outbreak, residents haven't had visitors since the lodge went into lockdown March 17th.


“They all say they wish they could see their family and give them a hug and give them a squeeze,” said Osterman.

Family members  include some who were as far away as Prince Edward Island and Australia -- but as nice as all the likes, hearts and views are, some residents say connecting online isn't quite like the real thing.

“It’s very hard on me because I’m a hugger," said Osterman.

The video can be viewed here.

The lodge does plan to release another video, but the song is yet to be determined.