Port Alberni counts on the services of many dedicated and caring women and men who work in the care field assisting seniors to have a more meaningful time while living a communal life with others in their new homes.
One of those devoted professionals is Victoria Roscoe-Roumanis, a purposeful and committed worker who has contributed greatly to a more positive existence for hundreds of seniors in the Valley in caring and creative ways.
She says: “I looked after my aging mother-in-law for four years before her death, which contributed to my interest in taking up a career working with seniors.
“Fifteen years ago training in Residential Care for Seniors seemed like a natural step for me to take for my future, attaining my training at NIC.
Shortly after commencing work at Fir Park and Echo Village, I attended Camosun College in Victoria to obtain my qualification in Activities and Programming for Seniors.” Up until the summer of this year she worked at Fir Park and Echo Village as well as Westhaven Multilevel Care in the Activity Departments. She now only works at Westhaven.
Born in Cheshire, England, Roscoe-Roumanis grew up on a farm and enjoyed her horses and participating in dressage, cross-country and show jumping in Britain and Germany. She also sang in the church choir, which was registered as a member of the Royal College of Church Music, which led her to sing in annual festivals, including performances in Chester Cathedral.
Her early career took her to London where she worked as an Information Officer with the National Association for the Care and Resettlement of Offenders.
There, she produced information material for the general public for the need of rehab for those released from prison. She was also part of the opening of two halfway houses and worked with Probation Officers to assist prisoners to find work and accommodation on release.
“I have always had a leaning towards social work”, she says.
Roscoe-Roumanis, now the proud mother of three, and five grandchildren, came to Port Alberni for the first time in 1973 to visit her parents-in-law. “We just fell in love with the Island and British Columbia, and, within two years after our holiday, made application to emigrate to Canada. I have never lost my appreciation for the beauty of Vancouver Island and all that surrounds me every day”, she adds.
In her first year in Canada, she worked as a substitute teacher and assisted with a Health Outreach for Parents and Infants, and also a support member of a SIDS Group.
As a professional in the gerontology field, Roscoe-Roumanis feels very fortunate to have a career that she thoroughly enjoys and loves. Seniors hold all their amazing life experiences within their memories which brings so much interest into every day.
“The work I do is extremely rewarding and also very demanding, which makes for a great combination for me. I thrive on multitasking and my approach is always very flexible. I allow the seniors themselves to bring to our programmes the quality of their own gifts and talents. The residents in our facilities are very diverse needs and I need to provide meaningful activities for each individual person. I plan a variety of programme activities ranging from exercises, cognitive challenging games, music, art, crafts, gardening, guest musicians and speakers. My intention is to bring to the residents all that is happening in the City of which they were and still are an integral part. It is essential for all human beings, from the very young to the very old, to be involved in meaningful activities in order to build and maintain their feeling of self worth and to promote inner health. My goal every day is to enable each person in my care to feel that their day has been worthwhile”.
In addition to her regular job, Roscoe-Roumanis enjoys photography and writing. Her son published a book of her poems and she has often read them at various functions in the community, such as “Forest Fest” and at “Word’s on Fire” held at “Chars Landing”. She also belongs to a vintage fashion group in town, the “Centennial Belles”. They have given many fashion shows, been invited by Holland America to show vintage fashion to their passengers while in Victoria. Early next April they will be putting on a Vintage Wedding Fashion Show dating from 1860’s to 1960’s as a fund raiser for Port Alberni children in need of support due to serious illness.