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Grandparents Day a special event

By Paula Fournier


PRINCE ALBERT — On Sept. 13, Mont St. Joseph Home hosted 400 people at their annual Grandparents Day Stroll-A-Thon. Residents were paired with a family member, friend, staff member, volunteer or board member to walk around the landscaped grounds of the home. They enjoyed burgers, listened to live music and watched children playing.

The goal of Brian Martin, secretary-treasurer for the board of directors, was for every resident to have a family member or friend to be with that day.

“Because this is about families, the most important thing for our residents is for them to have a special Grandparents Day.”

The annual Stroll-A-Thon is also an opportunity to raise funds to purchase furnishings and equipment needed by residents, staff and medical personnel. Pledges are collected by the day’s participants as they walk the residents around the facility. One staff member raised over $3,700 this year.

There is no additional support or special equipment through government funding, Martin said. The care home would not be able to flourish without the support of the community.

“The money that the foundation has given to the home through donations for safety equipment and needs in the home is amazing. I think it’s great for community to have engagement and ownership in our health care programs and services. I think that is what is truly special about Mont St. Joseph. We work very hard to be welcoming to the community and get our residents engaged in activities.”

For volunteers looking for opportunities, Martin invites them to join Mont St. Joseph as individuals, teams or groups on a daily, weekly or monthly basis. The director of recreation will train and orientate them, matching each volunteer to a compatible resident.

“They visit when they are able to. Four city parishes are coming to organize the mass on Sunday. That might be the only time they’re here, but some come every day. It’s a vocation. We always think that it’s a win-win for the residents, but inevitably we find that volunteers express that they’re the ones who are touched through the experience.”

When asked how they measure their success, Martin answered that ultimately that day, and what they do every day, will be measured by how welcome people feel.

“If our residents, families, staff and visitors feel welcome here, then there are all kinds of things that spin off of that; they’re all good. So critically for me when people are coming through the door for their first Grandparents Day here — how do they feel at the end of the night? Did they feel welcome? Did they have a good time? Did they go to bed knowing that it was a good day? That may be the most critical way to measure how we go about our business.”

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