Residents’ council helps to make Streamway Villa home

Streamway Villa residents' council president Barb LeBlanc (left) says the home is "like a family."

Streamway Villa residents’ council vice-president Barb LeBlanc (left) says the home is “like a family.”

Summer outing in the works

Monday, January 20, 2014 — Lisa Bailey

To be heard and respected is important to Barb LeBlanc who, as a long-time member of Streamway Villa’s residents’ council, has helped to enrich the lives of residents at the Cobourg long-term care home.

“At one meeting, we asked why not have bacon and eggs for supper instead of breakfast,” she says, citing an example of one change that’s come about. “People do that (at home), so now they do that (here). Actually we’re having bacon and eggs tonight for supper, so even little things like that they’ll go out of their way to do for us.”

LeBlanc, who is the council’s vice-president, will go around and talk to other residents, taking notes from their conversations and bringing their ideas, concerns or questions to the table. She says she enjoys the interaction and appreciates the opportunity and forum to express opinions freely.

“This is a great home,” LeBlanc says. “We’re like a family, we know everybody, and because we live here, we’re allowed to voice our opinion.”

Council discussions can touch on any area of the home; the respective managers receive notes from the meeting and have 10 days to respond to questions or concerns, and their responses are posted publicly in the home.

The process is part of new ministry standards, which life enrichment co-ordinator Christina Verleysen says is a positive change. “It’s so they know we’re trying to make a difference,” she says.

Residents’ council also discusses future events, and at their first monthly meeting of 2014, Streamway Villa’s council decided to visit Ripley’s Aquarium of Canada in Toronto for this summer’s group outing.

“It’s definitely a highlight for 2014,” Verleysen says, noting the idea of the aquarium visit piqued strong interest because it is a new attraction that no one at the home has seen.

This is the second year that Streamway Villa has planned a summer group outing; last June, 19 residents accompanied by six staff volunteers attended a Toronto Blue Jays’ home game. It was a refreshing change of pace for residents as well as staff members, who were singing and enjoying one another’s company, Verleysen says.

“It was the best day,” she says, adding the staff volunteers’ teamwork was amazing, and the residents’ renewed spirits bumped up their social interaction and participation in the home’s activities following the trip.

The annual summer outing was inspired by Streamway Villa’s make-a-wish program, which LeBlanc brought to residents’ council after seeing the positive impact made by granting a resident’s last wish to attend a Toronto Blue Jays’ game.

“We started a wish box and we found that so many people wanted the same wish, we thought we would make this bigger and combine a lot of residents’ wishes in one day,” Verleysen says.

All of these collaborative efforts serve to enhance residents’ quality of life, which is the best possible result.

“We’re here to make a difference,” Verleysen says.

If you have a story to share or feedback on this article, please contact the newsroom at 800-294-0051, ext. 25, or e-mail lisa(at)axiomnews.ca.

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