Resident-Led Activities and Initiative
Published April 05, 2011
Many people think of rocking chairs and relaxation when they think of a retirement home. How does Emerald Heights live up to that image?
Oh, that is so not Emerald Heights! This is probably the most active community I have ever been in. And what's really wonderful about how active our residents are is that this involvement is an essential part of overall wellness. Having so many opportunities to get involved and make a difference in this community gives our residents a sense of purpose, opportunities to socialize and pride in their achievements. In some cases, it even increases their sense of security, because their efforts have helped build up the Benevolence Fund, for example.
What do you think makes Emerald Heights different from other communities?
I think others try to create these same activities for their residents, but the resident-led activities at Emerald Heights are exactly that — led by residents. We can't make that happen. We can't force it.
Here, it has happened very organically because of the residents who choose to live here. They each bring their talents and interests and passions, and the result is an incredibly active community.
Take the new P-Patch, for example. Our master plan meant that the resident garden would have to be moved. The residents got together, found a good location for a new garden, and went to work! I just took a tour of the P-Patch, and when I think of all the work they've done and the passion behind it, I am amazed.
Are there other activities you would like to see residents take on?
That's a good question … We already have the Country Store, Coffee Shop, Beautification Committee, Nature Trail, Garden Railway, Care & Share Program… I am not sure what else we could do. But we are always open to new ideas! People are always thinking of new ways to get engaged and make a better community, and that's what it's all about.
I hear you recently took your turn in the Coffee Shop when you baked up your Grandma Reynolds’ Oatmeal Pancakes. What was that like?
That was a great day. It was really hard work, and the resident crew there really let me know who was boss in the Coffee Shop! But I really enjoyed the camaraderie. Also, I had such a sense of accomplishment at the end of the day when we added up the sales and I knew the profits would go to the Benevolence Fund. That felt good.
I'd like to do it again, and we have other people on staff who want a turn, but I think the schedule is booked for months!