Parksville’s Arrowsmith Lodge an Cokely Manor are celebrating 50 years of providing senior care in the community. - Steve Crabb photo

Parksville’s Arrowsmith Lodge and Cokely Manor celebrate 50 years

Week of ‘60s-themed activities starts on April 26

On Friday, April 26, Parksville’s Arrowsmith Lodge and Cokely Manor are celebrating 50 years of providing longterm seniors’ care and assisted living to Parksville Qualicum Beach residents.

Fifty years ago, the Arrowsmith Rest Home Society, led by social worker Everett Blish, was formed with the goal to change the way elderly in the Parksville Qualicum Beach region were housed.

The society, formed in 1968, worked together under Blish’s direction and his vision came to fruition in 1969 when the society began construction of the Arrowsmith Lodge.

The society worked with volunteers to raise $30,000 through grassroots fundraising and a CMHC loan was secured. The five-acre Moilliet St. parcel was purchased for $8,000 and volunteers cleared the land. Arrowsmith Lodge’s original three wings opened in 1971, with a fourth in 1974, accommodating 59 people.

“The community went out and initiated its own fundraising campaign, there was a core group of pioneers that had an interest in seeing this thing happen,” said longtime society board member Fred Pearson. “They created a non-profit society and fundamentally… that’s where we began and that’s where we are today.”

In 2004, with a growing Parksville, there was a need for more seniors’ care. The original society was renamed Arrowsmith Health Care Society to reflect the vision of a harmonious complete-care campus. A year later, the new Arrowsmith Lodge was complete. All 59 residents were moved from the old building to the 75-bed complex care home, with the remaining residents coming from the community. The original building was renamed Cokely Manor and renovated into a 30-suite assisted living residence.

Arrowsmith Lodge is now home to 74 permanent residents with one revolving respite room.

Today, Arrowsmith Lodge offers its residents activities seven days a week, meals cooked in-house and care based on the Eden Alternative model that addresses the three plagues of aging—loneliness, hopelessness and boredom.

“It’s just providing care in a client or elder specific focus,” said Karen Fredlund, Arrowsmith Lodge care manager.

To curb loneliness and boredom, Arrowsmith Lodge has resident pets living at the facility and children will visit during parties and events. In addition, Fredlund said that staff members will often spend some of their downtime or lunch breaks with the residents. To help with hopelessness, staff will give residents tasks to do during the day, pulling from hobbies or skills they had in their past, like gardening.

Arrowsmith lodge also offers a hair salon, foot care, a sensory stimulation room and activities seven days a week.

“We have a volunteer co-ordinator who is always looking for more volunteers in the community,” Fredlund said. “We have a little stash of volunteers that are really consistent, they come for really specific things, but we’re always looking for more volunteers… anything that they can do to help enrich the lives of the elders here.”

For their 50th anniversary, the staff and residents will celebrate throughout the year with a week of ‘60s-themed activities starting on April 26. On June 1, there will be a bigger celebration, and the board of directors invite former staff, families of current or past residents, former board members or anyone with a connection to Arrowsmith Lodge and Cokely Manor. Those people can contact for an invitation.

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