(This is the second of a two-part article on Echo Village. The first part ran in the Feb. 24 News Advertiser.)
Echo Village is a busy place throughout the year, and residents have the staff and volunteers who put on many events to thank for it.
Monthly highlights at the seniors’ facility include birthday parties, “Family Tea”, “Echo Village Pub Night”. Regular programs give place to special events.
¨Recently, we had the visit of the Lieutenant Governor of British Columbia, Judith Guichon. We had a special afternoon tea with her in our dining room,” says Mitzie Colyn, Echo Village program coordinator since 2001.
Volunteers play an important role in the life of the residents. They assist the staff in the procurement of meaningful programs, ranging from walks, group exercises, to reading and story time sessions. In addition, dozens of volunteers bring their musical talent and giving spirit to the Village population. Almost daily, their music is heard through the main public areas and hallways of the building.
“Music is such an important part of our programs, especially as a reminiscing tool for those whose memory has been lost. They love it,¨ says Colyn.
“We all tend to relate to past events by listening to musical tunes, thus, having them offering such an entertaining tool, that provides hours of enjoyment and reminiscing to the residents, makes a big difference in people’s spirit.
“We now have a special program regular musical evening session on Tuesdays,” she adds.
When referring to volunteers, it is important to underline the role of the Echo Village Auxiliary. Founded shortly after the arrival of the first residents, their membership, many of them, residents’ relatives at the time, decided to support the seniors of the home, not only financially, by organizing sales, bazaars and other fund raising activities, but also by volunteering at projects and programs.
Today, their members are involved in birthday parties, teas and other fun events. In turn, every April, the Village population expresses their recognition and appreciation to the men and women who contribute to the improvement of their quality of life by saluting them at a special program. This year theme will be: “Volunteers light the way”.
In almost 25 years of operation, Echo Village has experienced many changes, not only in the building, which has undergone substantial physical improvements, such as the reallocation of offices, new flooring, etc., but changes in the senior population as well, Colyn says.
Today, there are more people using wheelchairs and more in need of personal care than it was seen in past years. This means that the staff must be aware of the need to implement changes and provide activities that are designed to keep residents engaged and entertained by focusing on the health of residents’ body, mind and spirit.
The residents, through their Residents Council, are actively involved by bringing recommendations on issues that affect their well being, the programs, and the addressing of concerns, at their bi-monthly meetings.
Their association has been in existence for as long Echo Village has been in operation.