Providing love and companionship for seniors

Points West is uniquely a pet-friendly building

Geared towards seniors’ comfort and enjoyment, Points West Living in Red Deer is dedicated to the Eden Alternative model of care. In other words, this refers to person centred care, focussing mainly on the individuals themselves and who they are in order to facilitate them in growing, learning and participating in thier own lives as they would in their own home.

Points West opened their doors in 2016, starting off with one resident on Sept. 4th and expanding to 114 designated supportive living residents.

Something unique is that they are pet-friendly, which can be a huge benefit to a senior’s mental health and overall well being.

“The pet-friendly benefit comes from the Eden Alternative model of care, so essentially what is happening to our seniors in a lot of these supportive living communities is they are dying prematurely because of three reasons,” said Tracy Sutherland, general manager at Points West in Red Deer.

Those reasons, she said, include loneliness, helplessness and boredom.

“In order to combat those three – we call them three plagues – we develop an elder-centred community and create a human habitat where life revolves around close and continuing contact with people of all ages and abilities as well as plants and animals.”

She added that both their care partners and residents have animals in the building.

“We have birds, cats, and a lot of our care partners bring their dogs to work every day. There’s rarely a day where you don’t see a pet wandering around,” said Sutherland.

She added that by having these animals around the seniors, it provides love and companionship.

They also offer a program called Opening Minds Through Art, which again gives seniors that sense of love and companionship.

It was facilitated by the Alzheimer’s Society in conjunction with the Red Deer College nursing program and Points West Living.

“We partnered a nursing student with one of our memory care residents on a one on one basis for 10 weeks. The residents got the same nursing student for 10 weeks so they formed a relationship and got together and created art,” said Sutherland.

She added that it was mostly painting activities with their residents generating some amazing pieces of art.

“It’s providing that love and companionship and it’s providing meaningful activities, so it’s something they can be themselves at and bring their passions out even if they didn’t know they had them.”

Points West hopes to offer the program again on a regular basis with one in the fall and one in the spring.

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