When a person moves, through necessity, from the home and family he/she is accustomed to, into a new style of home, commonly called a facility, it can be a jarring and upsetting experience.
Gone are the familiar faces, surroundings, and routines, along with many of the treasured views, objects, and mementos of a lifetime. In their place are strangers, new and smaller spaces to call his own, and sometimes a certain lack of the freedom she once enjoyed.
These are a few of the hurdles a person requiring long term care faces, and most often at a time of life when the ability to adjust and take things in stride is not what it once was.
There are many such facilities in Oceanside, and almost daily, these adjustments are having to be made by their new residents. This is the story of how one local facility eases the transition to extended care and continues to make life pleasant, worthwhile, and even adventurous for its residents. This is the story of the Trillium Lodge auxiliary.
Trillium Lodge, a not-for-profit facility in Parksville provides supervision, medical, and nursing care for about seventy-five residents. The Trillium Lodge auxiliary was formed in 1982, the year the lodge opened. It is this Auxiliary which provides a whole new kind of family for the residents.
With about 40 members, the auxiliary becomes part of a resident’s life. Each person is presented with a welcome basket containing many of the little things of everyday life. Perhaps even more important than the gift basket items, is the caring contact that an auxiliary member provides for a new and bewildered resident.
Auxiliary members help residents maintain contact with the wider world outside with visits, walks around the grounds and gardens, and the acquisition of books, taped books, and videos from the Vancouver Island Library.
Auxiliary members help with lodge recreational activities, assisting volunteers who may or may not be members of the Auxiliary.
Another popular service offered by auxiliary members is the Nail Program. This involves the filing and shaping of nails and/or the application of polish or hand lotion. Because it requires one on one contact, the gentle care and touching provided is especially soothing to the residents.
Although the Auxiliary is primarily a non-profit service organization it does its share of fundraising for the benefit of the lodge’s residents. There are two fundraising projects: the grooming salon, where residents can have professional hair care by licensed hairdressers who are employed by the auxiliary to operate the salon, and the Tuck Shop. The shop, staffed by auxiliary volunteers is open five days a week 1 to 4 p.m., and stocks small sundry and gift items for the residents’ convenience. Some of the attractive knitted items for sale are made by auxiliary volunteers.
The Auxiliary uses the funds accrued in several ways. The benevolent fund may purchase Handi Dart tickets or other small items for the use of residents needing them and they help the lodge’s management team to purchase items beyond the scope of Lodge funds.
The auxiliary puts out its own newsletter to keep members informed and involved, to keep them smiling with a joke, and let them know what has happened and what’s in the works for future efforts.
Trillium Lodge could not be the pleasant and caring place it is without the devotion of its auxiliary family which makes the residents’ world a brighter place. If you have the yen to share, or wish to be a member of the Trillium Lodge Auxiliary, call Catherine (250-248-0486) or Linda (250-752-4859) and talk about it.
— Nancy Whelan is a regular News columnist.