Francis Fitch (left), a resident at Chartwell Cedarbrooke, had a special moment granted when Vicky Ross (right) and the staff at Cedarbrooke arranged for a trip to Dairy Queen. / Kevin Mills Photo

Mission seniors could have their wishes, special moments, fulfilled

Programs at Chartwell Cedarbrooke help create special days for seniors

Who doesn’t like a special outing or surprise gift?

In an effort to promote the philosophy of “making people’s lives better,” Chartwell Cedarbrooke retirement residence has been running a program called Moments That Matter.

Twice each month, staff at Cedarbrooke do something special to brighten a resident’s day.

Vicky Ross, lifestyles and program manager at Chartwell Cedarbrooke, said these moments can be big or small.

“The program is for residents in our homes who submit their wishes.”

Ross said there is a box in the lobby where ideas and suggestion can be submitted, by anyone – staff or residents.

Often they are simple requests. Some of the moments that have taken place include taking a resident and her friend to her old neighbourhood.

“They went to the area the one woman used to live in and had ice cream and reminisced about what it was like to live in that community years ago,” Ross said.

Another moment was as simple as a request to eat a taco.

“This resident doesn’t get out much so we arranged with our chef to bring her up some tacos.”

Others asked for a trip to Dairy Queen for ice cream.

“It’s those smaller moments – maybe a favourite restaurant an outing or a place they used to visit.”

Some residents requested a group outing to Harrison Resort, and staff made it happen.

“A moment can really be anything that means something special, just to make a resident’s day brighter. One resident, her husband would always leave a box of chocolates for Valentine’s Day so I arranged that she would have a box of chocolates left on her pillow,” Ross said.

Another senior, who doesn’t have any family, was feeling down and lonely at Christmas. They created a box and filled it with well wishes and greetings and it made him feel good and know that people were thinking of him.

Ross said her staff are always looking for different ideas.

“I ask staff to pick up on these things, listen to what residents are saying, to get ideas.”

It doesn’t take a lot of effort to create a moment.

“Being a senior in a retirement home doesn’t mean that you stop enjoying your life; it means that you are on to another phase that should be just as fulfilling as the other experiences you’ve been through,” Ross said.

Now Cedarbrooke is trying to fulfill even bigger wishes.

“We partnered up with Wish of a Lifetime Canada. We were looking for a national charitable partner whose vision and mission aligned with our own of making people’s lives better. Chartwell and Wish of a Lifetime believe seniors are as deserving as any other group to have their wishes fulfilled and growing older doesn’t mean that you have to stop dreaming or living a life full of purpose,” Ross said.

Wish of a Lifetime grants bigger wishes that seniors might have, including trips and other requests.

Overall, Chartwell Canada has helped to grant 50 wishes so far, but none yet from the Mission location.

Under the program, Cedarbrooke staff will help residents fill out the application, get family involved, send it in to Wish of a Lifetime, and, if accepted, the national organization takes it from there.

“It’s a great program and we want to get our residents involved as much as possible.”

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