How donor support transforms lives at Carewest Quality of Life and social programming: Expression, passion and general wellness are feelings residents experience when the have opportunities to participate in programming such as music, art and horticulture therapy. For many residents, full or partial mobility allows them to enjoy the roar of the crowd at a hockey game, the plunging penguins splashing at the zoo or even a day at a car show. These opportunities are beyond the basics of care, and only possible with donor support. Home-like environments: Care facilities should feel like a resident’s home with some necessary adaptations. Enhancing environments such as common areas for dining and socialization help reduce isolation and enhance social skills support. Environments where residents have input into design, furniture and art make it feel less institutional and more welcoming as many call it home for many years of their lives. Vulnerable resident support: Many Carewest residents are some of society’s most vulnerable members who do not have the support networks many of us do. They often consider fellow residents and staff their family and do not have funding for general expenses such as clothes and shoes or enjoy the benefits of outings and personal entertainment without donor support. Innovations in care: The broad range of care provided by Carewest from day and community programs, to rehabilitation and recovery, to long-term care means that residents benefit exponentially from the opportunity to innovate. Enhancing mental health therapy support, reimagining sensory environments and allowing the young and young at heart to experience the world around them in new ways are examples of how donors enable innovation that leads to a more fulfilling life for residents.
as well as it can enhance feelings of loneliness. In some instances, it can make people more irritable, impulsive and have social impairments. The impacts of traumatic brain injury can range from mild to severe. As Allan describes it, the results of his injury have led him to be too much in his head when he is alone. Prior to his traumatic brain injury, Allan was a successful stonemason and had experience across the construction industry. He was physically fit, loved music and spent a lot of his free time with friends. These are the things that haven’t changed. Allan has used the craftsman skills he developed as a stonemason and turned them into a passion for art. He is currently working on scratch-art, which allows him to use similar skills he had following blueprint designs, but he’s also developed a talent for painting and in the winter he knits hats for staff and residents. He gets outside with a companion who has taken Allan hiking, to car shows and different events around the city and occasionally to the facility’s gym. As a vibrant young man, these are important to Allan to create positive experiences, enhance his social environments and support his mental wellness. And, what has Allan beaming is the time he gets to spend with the music therapist who is teaching him different chords and helping him to write his own music. He uses a mixer on his computer to develop his own sounds and benefits from the Spotify Premium account to jam to different genres and learn a variety of musical blends. Living at Carewest’s Colonel Belcher facility has also given Allan the added benefit of a diverse group of friends, especially on social nights when they gather together with veterans, others with varying degrees of mental health needs and staff. He enjoys hearing the stories from the older residents and sharing his music at his table. Allan is fortunate to have his family nearby who are able to support him, but not all residents are as fortunate. One of the biggest challenges for complex long-term care residents is that their needs often require a combination of medical and social care, while ensuring a supportive and home-like adaptive environment filled with enriching experiences that offer a high quality of life.
Building a better quality of life “Who would win in a fight: Elvis Presley or Johnny Cash?”
This is a question Allan asks as he strums his guitar and lends his voice to the rich sounds of Ring of Fire. Music is something that Allan is passionate about. He regularly jams and entertains residents with some of his favorites from across the many genres he’s added to his personal repertoire. At 34, Allan loves sports having played both hockey and football
as a kid. He enjoys getting outdoors, going bowling, playing basketball and going to outings around the city. He is like many peers his age – except, six years ago at the age of 28, Allan was diagnosed with a traumatic brain injury following an incident that caused Allan’s brain to be deprived of oxygen for an extended period of time.
Today, he lives at his residence in Carewest’s Colonel Belcher facility where he has the supportive environment he needs for his complex mental health condition. Traumatic brain injury creates new challenges for individuals as it alters how they experience life. It can change their core qualities, impact memory, attention, judgement and decision making,
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