Springdale residents’ council replaces presidency with ‘executive team’

From left to right, Springdale Country Manor residents Juanita Blake, Elizabeth Burton and Noreen Chandler have found a new way to empower all members of the home’s residents’ council.

Move aimed at making council meetings more democratic

Springdale Country Manor’s residents’ council is taking a new approach to make the group more democratic.

Rather than having a president, the group has decided to make the entire council an “executive team.” Their reasoning is simple: residents want everyone to feel equally involved in decision making.

Elizabeth Burton, a past president of Springdale’s residents’ council, says she prefers the team approach to running the council.

Elizabeth says when the group has a president, residents might feel obligated to go along with the president’s ideas. However, when it’s a group-led approach, people feel more comfortable expressing their thoughts.

Meetings, she says, are more interactive these days.

“Everybody is satisfied this way, and you don’t this feeling of ‘she’s the boss’ during meetings,” Elizabeth tells The OMNIway. “And I think that’s the way it should be.”

Life enrichment co-ordinator Candice Stewart has acted as the primary assistant during residents’ council meetings. One of the things she has worked to instil in the group is the importance of residents being self-advocates.

“I see them becoming more independent and taking on council meetings for themselves, with staff members being there only as assistants,” Candice says.

A group-led approach to residents’ council, she says, is a good way to promote self-advocacy.

“If residents want something, they have to say something. If they see something that doesn’t seem right, they have to say something,” she says. This is their home first, so educating residents that this is their home first has been a big thing.”

Planning resident outings are an important function of residents’ council meetings. Council member Juanita Blake says it’s important everyone on the council feels comfortable providing ideas and advocating for the activities they would like.

“Spring is coming, and we want to get out of the home when the weather starts getting nice and find places to go, so planning outings is important (to council members),” Juanita says.

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