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Aug 23, 2019

SENIORS’ HOME RESIDENTS ENJOY OUTDOOR SPACE UPDATED BY QUALICO VOLUNTEERS

Calgary, AB – Having a nice place to live is something we can all appreciate, regardless of our age or income. Silvera for Seniors, an organization that offers safe and affordable housing in Calgary for 1,500 lower-income seniors, works to provide just that to its residents.

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With 25 communities located across the city, Silvera for Seniors provides independent living options for seniors from all walks of life. The organization depends on the work of volunteers to help support the many programs and amenities available to residents.

Several Qualico employees had the opportunity to volunteer recently at Silvera for Seniors in Lynnwood, which is a facility that specializes in dementia care.

The team spent the day outside, working to beautify the outdoor space that so many of the residents enjoy. The volunteers trimmed hedges, created flowerbeds, planted flowers, put together outdoor furniture, installed rock and mulch, and cleaned up litter and dead plants.

Many of the volunteers had a personal connection to the organization or the work it does caring for seniors. Carmen Jaume, Administrator at Qualico Commercial, shared that her mother has mild dementia, which helped her appreciate how much the improved outdoor area meant to residents.

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Byron Guss and Carmen Jaume planting flowers in the front walkway

“It was a fun and rewarding experience for me,” she said. “The first impression was positive and welcoming, as some residents were sitting close to the main entrance waiting for our team to arrive, and you could see the excitement on their smiling faces. It felt like we really achieved something and I was happy to see many seniors walking close by and looking through the windows to see the beautiful new flowers in their garden areas.”

The planted flowers and garden area are part of an active aging program at Silvera for Seniors, which encourages residents to participate in caring for and maintaining the outdoor space and plants.

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Carmen Jaume and Silvera Seniors planting flower beds.

Brent MacKay, Vice President Commercial Development Southern Alberta and Manitoba, said he was familiar with Silvera for Seniors before the volunteer day, as his mother-in-law is a resident in one of the communities. He was surprised to learn how much the organization uses volunteer support, and was pleased to take part in helping out.

“Organizations such as this do a good job, given the limited resources that they have available to them,” he said. “Sometimes all it takes is a little outside effort from a volunteer group like ours to give them that little extra boost to accomplish things that they can't quite get done for themselves. That little extra effort from volunteers can make a tremendous difference in the lives of others.”

One of the things that stood out to Stephen Lyons, Project Manager at Qualico Commercial, was how important having a view is to the residents at Silvera for Seniors. He noted that residents like to watch the school across the street, with kids getting on and off the school bus and playing in the playground each day, and that trimming the hedges on the property allowed them to enjoy that view.

“By the end of the day, you realize how much you really are making a difference,” he said. “The residents were sitting and watching us work because it’s a big deal for them. When talking to a few of the residents afterwards, they expressed their gratitude and told us we had done a good job.”

Aside from the benefits to residents and Silvera for Seniors, the volunteers shared their appreciation for an opportunity to connect with their co-workers outside of the workplace while doing something meaningful for the community.

“If anyone in Qualico hasn’t decided on or found a Volunteer Day activity to undertake yet,” said Brent, “I would encourage them to look around their communities. Opportunities to volunteer for great causes are all around us. We just need to press ‘pause’ and take stock of those opportunities, and put a plan in motion. It really can be a refreshing change and an uplifting experience.”

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