Seniors painting program goes ahead thanks to the generosity of Cochranites
“It’s just so difficult with COVID. Our residents are so isolated and everyone is just getting to the point where they feel frustrated. It’s a beautiful thing the community has done for us and the residents are very grateful.”
COCHRANE – Thanks to the generosity of the Cochranites and the pottery painting studio Crock-a-Doodle, a painting program that was popular with the residents was carried out at Points West Living.
Shortly after COVID-19 swept the country, forcing organizations everywhere to change their operations, Points West’s Recreation Department reached out to the community to find people teaching virtual classes for residents, said Jessica Kraig, recreation manager at Points West Living.
“I had gotten quite a few responses from people about teaching virtual classes and Wendy [Maguire] had reached out because she saw it, ”said Kraig. “She mentioned that she would be able to turn in any supplies and anything we would need.”
Crock-a-Doodle is the service that provides the pottery and painting supplies for the program and even transports the finished products to and from a studio where the paint is put in an oven. Usually Maguire also comes to teach the class, which is not possible during the pandemic.
It’s a service Points West previously used for a ceramic painting program that residents of the facility really liked, but supplies are very expensive, especially for seniors who often have steady incomes.
“It’s quite expensive and it’s just not feasible for our residents to do this very often, and I had raised this concern to Wendy,” Kraig said.
At this point the Adopt-a-Senior program began.
Maguire, the owner of Crock-a-Doodle in the Royal Oak neighborhood of Calgary, made a public call to sponsor residents and provide them with the kits they would need to participate in the program.
The first call for sponsorship was for 12 kits that filled up quickly and Points West staff were able to expand the program to four more residents. After the first request was fulfilled, many more offers were received.
Kraig said they turned down the additional offers just in case they wanted to do another similar program in the future.
“We had a great response. We had way more than we needed, ”said Kraig. “After we were 16, I said, ‘Why don’t we wait if we do it again sometime?’ Just because we can’t have a large group or we have a really hard time helping them because they needed help with some paintings – everyone has different skills and abilities. “
Kraig said the staff had put a lot of thought into how they could help alleviate the isolation many residents are currently feeling, and this recent community friendliness is a lovely reminder that people outside of Points West are keeping residents in theirs Thoughts during this difficult time.
“It’s so difficult with COVID. Our residents are so isolated and everyone just gets to the point where they feel frustrated. It is something beautiful that the community did for us and the residents are very grateful, ”said Kraig. “Imagine you are in a place where you basically look at the same four walls every day and have nowhere to go. It’s a little different for us because we can go to a restaurant if we want or take a ride. Most of our residents have been very isolated over the past year. “
Kraig said she has already asked local residents when the projects will be returned and looks forward to seeing the fruits of their labor.
Despite running a Calgary-based company, Maguire lives in Cochrane, so she felt the need to help the city seniors.
“Over Christmas I saw all of Cochrane how great and wonderful everyone was, and I think every senior in Cochrane who was in a house basically got a wonderful Christmas donated gift,” said Maguire. “Everyone knew that they were all on their own and couldn’t have visitors, and I thought nothing really changed in that regard.”
Maguire said she saw firsthand the difference these fun projects can make for residents in terms of their mental health, wellbeing and confidence.
The community support that the Adopt-a-Senior program received has been inspiring and heartwarming, said Maguire.
“The community was amazing as they usually are. They gathered around them somehow, ”she said. “It was an outpouring. I didn’t know what to expect. “
Maguire said she loved the reaction she saw and wanted to send an invitation to the facilities of the other seniors in town to do something similar.