New awnings add to outdoor time at Maplewood

Maplewood awnings

‘Everyone just loves to get outside when the weather is nice’

Getting outside on pleasant-weather days can be relaxing and healthy, but sometimes one needs a little shade. Maplewood’s residents’ council had this in mind when it voted in favour of using its funds to purchase two new patio awnings for the Brighton long-term care home.

The decision has quickly been proving to be a great one.  Six programs have already been held under the cool shade of the awnings since they were installed a week ago.

And while groups of residents enjoyed meals outdoors during favourable weather in the past, the extra shade means more are able to do so at once now.

“The awnings have been a wonderful addition to our front patio so that residents can get outside and enjoy more of the day out there and not be chased away by the high afternoon sun,” says Rachel Corkery, Maplewood’s administrator and life enrichment co-ordinator.

“We often found last year when we were hosting events out front that we would be called in much sooner than we would have all wanted, because the sun got too hot.”

The residents’ council voted to direct the funds it raised during a “not-so-silent auction” event last year towards the awnings.

“We put forward a bunch of ideas, and one of the ideas that came up was the idea of the sun shade awnings and it was unanimous – everyone said ‘Yes, that’s what we’re doing, that’s what we want’,” Corkery recalls, noting the council always does very well with its fundraising efforts.

After research by Maplewood’s maintenance manager and other staff members on the best structure to purchase given the funds available, the decision had been made to buy a certain kind of umbrella.

But when the team doing the buying got to the store, they were happily surprised to find “these beautiful, tin-roofed gazebo structures” that were within budget and had the added benefit of being something that could stay up all year.

“We brought (this new information) back to the council and they said, ‘Use your judgement. You’ll make the best choice.’ So we ended up getting these two 10-by 10-foot permanent structures,” Corkery says.

“Everyone just loves to get outside when the weather is nice,” she adds.

“And now we get to do that and enjoy the warm weather and a nice summer breeze without having to worry about sunburn and over-heating.”

The home is holding its first-ever fun fair this weekend, and Corkery says she looks forward to seeing how much the awnings contribute to the enjoyment of the event as people are able to stay outside longer.

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