story by Christina Waldner | photography by Britton Ledingham
The 65 residents of Crossfield Rocky View Lodge are spoiled for choice when it comes to things to do and enjoy. The level 2 supportive living facility has an abundance of daily activities – everything from morning exercise classes to bingo to a class for aspiring writers.
“Crib is huge. They’re cutthroat here,” said the facility’s manager, Ellen Turek. “Bingo and the knitting club are also popular.”
Evenings are often filled with entertainment by a variety of local performers, and Friday happy hour is always busy, she added.
A bus also takes residents on field trips to locations like the William Watson Lodge in Kananaskis, casinos, other seniors’ facilities, the Calgary Zoo, Rosebud Theatre and on shopping excursions.
Rocky View Lodge opened in 2012 and is run by the Rocky View Foundation (RVF) as a not-for-profit. Residents receive all their daily meals and snacks, weekly housekeeping and a weekly linen change. There is also a spa, hair salon, exercise room, activity room and games room onsite.
A full-time activity co-ordinator makes sure the residents are provided with a good variety of options to keep their minds and bodies engaged, according to RVF chief administrative officer Carol Borschneck. There is no medical support provided; instead, anyone requiring assistance is referred to Homecare.
“That’s scheduled care. They come in and do things like assisted bathing,” she said. “The medication assistance program… makes four passes a day for anyone who needs medication assistance.”
Homecare also provides temporary care if a resident has been sick and just needs a little help getting back into the swing of things, Turek added.
The foundation previously ran the lodge out of another building. Located next door, the renamed Dr. Whillans Manor provides independent living options for seniors. That facility has space for 24 residents in one-bedroom apartments.
With approximately 20 per cent of Crossfield’s 3,308 residents being 60 years of age or older, seniors living independently in the community also have a variety of options when it comes to activities.
The Golden Key Club, Crossfield Public Library and Town of Crossfield each provide special activities for the town’s senior residents.
According to president of the Golden Key Club, Derrick Ell, membership has been on the wane lately, but he’s hoping to gain some new members this year.
“We’re having a hard time bringing new, younger seniors in,” he said. “They don’t understand that if they get some of their friends and come in – people more their age – they can do what they want. We’re relying on word-of-mouth to get more members.”
A yearly membership is $25. For more information about the club, Ell said he may be contacted at 403-650-6172.
While the library doesn’t offer programs specifically for seniors, it does have some resources seniors might find useful.
“We can offer assistance with computers, technology and our eResources,” said Laura Blondin-Miller, library manager. “We’re looking at getting some other programs, too. We also have Victor Readers for the visually impaired – they are able to be signed out.”
Provided by the Canadian National Institute for the Blind, (CNIB), the special equipment can play audiobooks to seniors or anyone else with limited vision.
The Town of Crossfield began offering field trips last year, geared toward seniors. Events programmer Eris Latham said she is in the midst of determining this year’s destinations.
“We’re going to do a spring trip, a summer trip and a fall trip,” she said. “We subsidize the cost, heavily. We are hoping to do that even more heavily this year.”
Last year’s trips included the Aspen Crossing train in Mossleigh and a Saskatoon berry farm in Dewinton.
“I love the seniors’ trips,” Latham said. “It’s great to be able to dedicate some time to them.”