Welcoming the Community to Open House
By Barbara Sutherland
About sixty people from the Lac La Biche area came to the Golden Sands' Open House on Wednesday, May 8. They listened to presentations about the services and culture of the community, heard from residents, toured the building, and had a taste of the food residents enjoy every day.
Showcase the Community
“We opened a year ago in June, and many people drive by and admire our beautiful building,” says Theresa Cardinal (Office Admin/Recreation), “but they still don’t have a full understanding of who we are and the services we provide.” So, General Manager Iona Wolstenholme thought this first anniversary would be a great time to showcase the community and let the public know what is available for ageing loved ones.
“The public response to our Open House was very positive,” says Theresa, “There were many ‘oohs!’ and ‘ahhhs!’ as first-time visitors took their first few steps into the building.” Guests listened attentively as Iona talked about the Eden Alternative model of care, and described the Levels of Care available (Level 4, including Dementia Care). Community Mentor Mary Lou Duncan and Franco Matina (Corporate Marketing Manager) joined in to provide more insight and information for visitors.
"If you want to lose weight... this isn't the place for you!"
“We also had the pleasure of having Independent Supportive Living (ISL) residents, George Wicker, Rita Steedsman, and Helen Amiot share some of their thoughts, stories and experiences of living at Golden Sands. Rita talked about how she was the very first resident. George talked about how friendly all the employee care partners are and how much he and his wife enjoy living here. And Helen said ‘If you want to lose weight, then this isn’t the place for you because they feed us so good here!’ It was great to hear their wonderful stories about living here and their candour brought many laughs and smiles to the audience.”
Surrendered to a Comfy Recliner
Following the presentations, guests enjoyed a fabulous selection of finger foods prepared by Brent Hughes (Food Services Supervisor), and Kathy Roy (Cook). Others took guided tours throughout the building. Several ISL residents generously offered personal tours of their own suites so guests could see how each resident arranged their belongings in a way that makes every suite a unique home. Thanks to residents Maureen & Alcide Baglot, Ed & Lea Gagne, Jeannine Sturges, Rita Steedsman, and Sherril Verboom who opened their homes.
“During the tour, our guests were so involved, one couple got separated, and when the wife realized her husband wasn't still with the group, she went looking for him," says Theresa. "She eventually found him in a very comfy recliner chair visiting in one of the residents' suites. Apparently, he and the resident knew one another and they figured it was as good a time as any to get in a quick visit.”
Building was a Buzz of Energy and Excitement
“It was a fabulous event,” says Theresa. “The building was a buzz of energy and excitement. Many of the guests commented on how wonderful the Open House was, how friendly the care partners and residents are, and how beautiful the building is. There were so many inquiries about our ISL suites, we are now at full occupancy and we’ve started a waitlist.”
Photo: As Mary Lou Duncan (left) and Iona Wolstenholme look on, a resident shares a little humour with visitors at the Open House on May 8.