Lodge Family Resident Council achieved much for seniors

Dear Editor:

In reply to Anne Lafoy’s letter, Resident Council Rules Discriminatory published in the Feb.2 issue, this letter attempts to correct her wrong or misleading information.

The Golden Leisure Lodge (Rimoka) Family Resident Council was formed on March 21, 2001, under the direction of previous CAO Andy Kennett. The role and purpose of the Family Resident Council was developed in 2001 by CAO Andy Kennett, manager Ronda Lamey, coordinator Nellie Bos, and the 2001 members of the Family Resident Council. The purpose of the council was to increase family involvement, allow for more open communication, provide education for residents, act as a resource group, be a voice for residents, advocate on behalf of seniors, discuss changes that may improve living conditions for residents and advise management on issues or policies that negatively affected residents.

The structure consisted of five to 10 family members, five to 10 residents, including the president and vice-president of the Rimoka Senior Residents Association and a representative from the community and staff. Family members were responsible for chairing meetings and providing secretarial services, not staff members.

It is not true that the council was discriminatory. Any resident or family member was, and is, welcome to attend. Over the years, single residents or residents without children were at times members; some not accompanied by a family member.

Mary Miller and Dorothy Bateman represented residents for many years without family members living in Ponoka. Numerous out of town family members attended from Rimbey, Red Deer, Stony Plain, Bashaw, Innisfail, Ponoka or Ponoka County.

Meetings were never kept small and private, however, many times it was difficult to get family members or residents to participate in the meetings.

Meetings were announced in advance, with notices usually posted on the main door. Sometimes the door was closed during the meetings, only because of noise in the hallway or other distractions.

Over a 10-year period with the assistance of several co-ordinators, including Nellie Bos, or Kristie Stretch, there were many accomplishments.

These two dedicated ladies worked diligently to help the council and improve services for the residents. Some successful events involved residents in activities such as pie days, donut making, craft sales, plays, Swiss Yodellers or even a formal evening dinner, with waiters or waitresses, music and a five-course meal. I remember how proud Marvin Morrow was serving the residents that very special evening. We spent many meetings discussing food, serving of food, games, or entertainment.

Numerous speakers made presentations to all the residents on home care services, wills, power of attorney, health care directives, medication, diabetes, heart attacks, blood pressure, or other health issues. Guardian Ambulance discussed ambulance services and helped develop emergency bottles containing health information that is kept in each resident’s room. The council also developed and implemented surveys for family members. Presentations were made to MLAs or federal, provincial and municipal governments on issues affecting seniors.

There was, and is, no discrimination against anyone wanting to attend meetings, whether you were single, had no children or family members.

I was a member of the Golden Leisure Lodge Family Resident Council for the past 10 years and chair for the past five years. I am very proud of work that we accomplished on behalf of the residents.

A council is only as effective as the members who attend. We have had a very effective council over the last 10 years. Will it be as effective in the future? That is the question.

Dorothy Ungstad,

RR2, Ponoka