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Media Source: Caring Now

“This isn’t a lodge—it’s a hotel!” exclaims Janet Noonan. “We don’t want for anything!”

This is an often heard comment at Rocky View Lodge in Crossfield. Since last July, residents have enjoyed living in a new facility owned and operated by the Rocky View Foundation. Their expression of satisfaction is based upon the quality of the building and the services they receive.

“We needed a new lodge and after working with S2 Architecture, we finally have the Facility of our dreams. This new building is one of two we operate,” says Carol Borschneck, CAO of the Rocky View Foundation. “The other is Big Hill Lodge in Cochrane.”
“Our goal is to provide people-centered care in affordable accommodation. It is all about people and we work hard to have a very caring staff,” she adds.

The Rocky View Foundation has approximately 50 staff with about 25 working in Crossfield. The new facility has a capacity of 64 and is almost full. The lodge also features a respite unit that is used for caring for people after an operation or for providing caregiver relief for those seniors living in a home environment.

“When we started the project in April 2010, we undertook a new approach,” says Robert Spaetgens, of S2 Architecture. “Quite often architects like to begin by drawing. We quickly realized that we were involved with a variety of stakeholders—each with their unique perceptions and goals for the new facility. All, however, were extraordinary visionaries with a lot to offer. We started with development of a Project Charter—a facilitated process that created an agreement among all the stakeholders about the principles and scope of the project and what could be delivered within the budget. Once everyone agreed the design process proceeded quickly.”

Robert adds, “Of all the approaches to design, S2 Architecture believes that at the outset of a project, client and user group participation in the development of a consensus document (Project Charter) has the most positive and profound impact on project outcomes.”
“A key ingredient of the Charter was an understanding about innovation and an agreement that the building was being created for the residents. We designed everything with the residents in mind— some even contributed to the design discussion. Unlike many other seniors facilities the first view when one enters this building is not a dining room but rather a welcoming homey entrance. The dining room is more appropriately located on the second floor where it can take advantage of light and space. The project owes a great deal of thanks to Carol Borschneck and Earle Whittaker for their passion and persistence in getting the project completed,” adds Robert.

“We want our residents to be active and engaged and we do everything we can to have meaningful activities,” states the new facility manager Cathy Westlund. “As soon as people get up in the morning we want them to have something meaningful to do.”

“We go on a lot of trips. Shopping or visiting a casino is popular but we often do much more. Each year we use our own bus to take residents to the mountains and each summer to my lake lot near Innisfail where they enjoy a BBQ, there popular destinations include a machine shop in Linden, farm tours, the steam train in Stettler, the Torrington Gopher Museum, the Ponoka Stampede, and even Stage West in Calgary,” says Cathy.

‘Around here residents don’t call themselves seniors—they are recycled teenagers!” says Cathy. We are fortunate to have so much community support. Our bus is invaluable and we only have one because of the generosity of the Lions Club and Encana. It is typical of the community involvement in lodge activities. We have volunteers tending bar on Fancy Fridays when everyone dresses up for Happy Hour.”

One of the newer activities is ‘chair dancing’. Rather than dancing with a partner the residents dance with a chair. When one woman complained she couldn’t keep a beat she was told—”your partner will never know the difference!” She danced and loved it.
Residents participate in the lodge’s Christmas Baking and Craft Sale and each year playschool student’s visit at Halloween. A highlight of the year is the Volunteer Appreciation Dinner held at the lodge. Resident Jack Keller is starting a band and the group is practicing a song written by one of our previous residents,” says Cathy.

“I am really looking forward to a new program starting next week,” says resident Edna Rogers, a 94-year old resident. “Grade five students are coming to visit to read stories. I signed up right away. It will remind me of being a school teacher again. I began teaching in a one-room school at Rodney— east of Acme. Later I taught in Acme and Calgary but my real love was working in the library.),

The grade five students will have other duties. They will interview residents, write a story based upon the interview and then present the stories to the residents at a later date. It is a complete exercise designed to teach reading, interviewing, and writing and presentation skills.

An equally active recycled teenager is Dorothy (Dot) Richardson who farmed north-east of Crossfield. She and her friend Hazel Fessler have lived in the lodge for three years. Dot exclaimed when asked about the new lodge, “I like it all. There is nothing not to like.”
Dot’s favorite pastime is playing bridge which she tries to do every evening. Hazel prefers casino visits, reading, knitting and visiting with family. Hazel had four children and now has 12 grandchildren and 15 great grandchildren. Dot’s son and two daughters have given her six grandsons and three great grandsons—she wonders where the granddaughters are.

Another resident, Betty Romman lives in the lodge with her husband Bob. Originally from Regina they operated the garage in Crossfield for 35 years. She is glad they can live together and is especially happy that they are ‘completely free’. There’s no cooking, no cleaning and although they do their own laundry they don’t have to. They even have their own furniture to make it just like home.

“All meals are served in the dining room,” says Carol. “The rooms have small refrigerators but no cooking facilities. By having everyone come to the dining room for meals we are able to monitor their well-being.”

The facility boasts two Red Seal chefs—Head Chef Elaine Reed and Chef Darryl Berntsen. They work on a four-on four-off rotation. “Our job is to ensure people get their nutritional needs met,” says Darryl. To do that 99 per cent of meals are completely prepared on site. The only things that are not are breads and breakfast items and some frozen products used for special diets or backup. We bake bread, cookies and pies and try to cook every meal with fresh ingredients. We also have to tailor meals to meet diet requirements because we have 16 diabetics and several people on restricted salt diets.”

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