This week, we’d like to give a tip of our collective hats to everyone involved with the officially opened phase one of the Bow River Seniors Lodge in Canmore.
Judging by the light up a room smile on the face of residents’ spokesperson Hilda Slavin and many other lodge residents, the official opening on Friday (Feb. 23), despite delays in construction, was a joyous occasion.
One can only imagine the relief felt by area seniors who now call one of the 63 new units home. The 63 units, along with another 60 higher-care units planned for phase two, with construction starting this year, means more of our seniors, who worked, played, raised families and supported their community over the decades can remain in the community they love, near friends and family, rather than being forced to make a move if their health and/or care needs change.
Beyond that, imagine the importance to offspring and their youngsters who will now have grandpa or grandma living in the valley, close at hand, to share special moments with them.
For many people, the wallhanging in the photo on page 8 says it all – Home Is Wherever Mom Is. But still, how much better is it if mom, or dad, or both, can be close at hand in the community, rather than being forced out? In a small town like Canmore, which is also nestled among the other communities involved in Bow Valley Regional Housing, the importance of having loved ones close at hand, with a visit just minutes away, cannot be underestimated.
Of course, a massive $14 million project like the lodge construction means many hands were at work, from municipal, provincial and federal governments, to BVRH, building construction and management, and the staff who, on-site, dedicated and available, ensure that day-to-day life in the lodge is all it can be for residents.
And there’s a lot to be said for a facility that feels warm and inviting, with a bright, spacious dining area, and improvements that may not seem groundbreaking, but are important nonetheless. These range from wide hallways which are easy to manouevre in for those with mobility issues, to hard surfaces in rooms that make wheelchair and walker navigating easier, to more elevators, more safe and accessible washrooms (in the old lodge, only about half of the residents had in-room bathing facilities) and common areas and a microwave and small refrigerator in each room.
Little wonder then, that there has been a waiting list to get into the new facility. We’ll assume that many more seniors are anticipating construction of another 60 units as part of the multi-million dollar phase two as well.
An added benefit of the new lodge phases may be that staff attraction and retention may prove to be easier, as who wouldn’t want to work in a shiny new facility such as the one that has been created?
Up next, our Paralympians
Now that the Olympic Games have wrapped up in PyeongChang, South Korea, it’s time for the Paralympians who call this valley home to have their time in the spotlight.
Taking place March 9-18, the Winter Paralympics should provide a showcase for powerhouse competitors like Brian McKeever, Brittany Hudak, Mark Arendz and Chris Klebl to show their stuff on the biggest stage.
Here’s hoping they turn in the performances of their lives, while staying injury-free soaking up all the culture and excitement the Games have to offer.