Resident empowerment thrives at S&R communities in 2018

From helping charities to beautifying buildings to shucking corn, residents led a variety of programs and activities this year
12/5/2018  - Deron Hamel

The Steeves & Rozema Group’s long-term care and seniors living communities demonstrated a great deal of resident empowerment in 2018, which benefited community charities, the individual homes and the residents themselves.

In February, Afton Park Place launched the Community Project Club, which has been going full throttle since. The club is resident-driven, and residents involved host “pop-up sales” each month to raise money for a different charity. So far, the club has hosted fundraisers for several charities, including the Inn of the Good Shepherd in Sarnia, the Sarnia-Lambton branch of the MS Society and the Canadian Cancer Society.

Club members have sold food items including paczki (pronounced POON-check, which are Polish jam- and cream-filled doughnuts) on Shrove Tuesday as well as ice-cream sandwiches and Creamsicles to help beat the heat in July and August at the Sarnia long-term care community. There have also been 50-50 draws and toonie collections in support of causes.

“(W)e’re encouraging residents to think outside the box – it’s their project and we’re trying to encourage them to do all the work,” says Afton Park life enrichment manager Stacy Petrie.

Waterloo Heights building manager Christine Warren tipped her hat this summer to three of the Waterloo, Ont. apartment block’s residents for their efforts and dedication to ensuring the building’s garden area was teeming with colourful, well-cared-for flowers that enhance the environment.

In 2017, Christine noticed the grounds around Waterloo Heights were in need of more flowers to brighten the environment. So, she started planting flowers and plants. Residents Marguerite Pigden, Junine Streeter and Grace Baer, immediately took interest and began using their green thumbs to help.

Marguerite turned a patch of ground into a rose garden which she cares for and has paid for herself. Junine planted nasturtiums, and other residents have helped her care for the flowers. Grace grows plants in her apartment and brings them down to the dining room for everyone to enjoy. In summer 2017, Grace moved plants she had been growing into the garden.

“The three residents contributed (to the garden) all on their own, and we want our residents to shine” for the work they have done to beautify Waterloo Heights, Christine says.

Heron Terrace residents got to work a couple of times at the end of August to shuck corn cobs that were then prepared by the Windsor long-term care community’s food services team and served up with butter and salt at the annual corn roast.

Residents have always enjoyed shucking corn, and it’s an activity that’s beneficial on a variety of levels, say life enrichment manager Lori George and food services manager Annette Dean.

“We have done it for about two or three years, and the residents love to know that they were the ones who had husked the corn,” Lori says.

Lori and Annette note that there are other value-added benefits to husking corn for the residents. For example, it’s good exercise for hand muscles and fingers, and the activity also increases socialization, since residents husk the corn cobs in groups.

Shucking corn cobs is also an activity some residents do very well, Lori and Annette add.

“We even have some residents we call our ‘champions’ because they are really good at husking the corn,” Lori says.


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