The art of kindness: Kids’ drawings part of connecting with residents of care homes

Children’s drawings, photographs and homemade cards for beloved grandparents are being delivered online to residents of Broadmead Care’s five long-term care homes, courtesy of the Rapid Relief Fund.

Last week, Broadmead Care received a $30,000 grant from the fund, some of which it used to buy 12 new iPads for the 400 residents in long-term care, to help them connect with family and friends.

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The fund — set up by the Victoria Foundation, the Jawl Foundation and the Times Colonist — has raised more than $4.26 million to support people in need in the community.

“We were delighted when the Victoria Foundation reached out to us and asked us if there was anything that we needed,” said Mandy Parker, Broadmead’s vice-president of philanthropy and communications.

Parker said when visits were restricted to essential visitors only, Broadmead decided to buy the iPads so residents can send and receive messages. Two more iPads are on order and Broadmead Care plans to buy more. Eventually, they’d like to have one for every 10 residents.

“It’s been a fabulous experience,” said Parker. “So far, the residents have received more than 700 messages on the iPads, either photos of cards or children’s drawings. And the volunteers, who can’t be in our care homes anymore, are sending messages to residents showing their support.”

The residents, who are missing face-to-face conversations with loved ones, have been creating messages and sending them to their loved ones. “We found that going back to the basics and making some crafts, signs and flowers and being able to share that with their loved ones has been therapeutic as well,” said Parker.

The Rapid Relief Fund money is also being used for raised gardening beds and more gardening tools at the care homes, and to buy special multi-sensory equipment for people who live with dementia.

Tactile tools such as balls or fibre optic threads, along with lighting, music and smell, help those who get agitated, Parker said. “It helps to provide a calm environment for them. It stimulates the different senses. Some people need to have their hands busy and it really helps to calm them down.”

The gardening tools, meanwhile, will allow all residents of all Broadmead Care’s five long-term-care homes to grow flowers, vegetables and herbs.

Last year, the residents of Veterans Memorial Lodge grew rhubarb and strawberries. When the strawberries were ripe, they had strawberries and ice cream. They also made rhubarb pie, said Parker. “From garden to table, the residents were involved in the whole process, which was very engaging for them.”

Parker said the Rapid Relief Fund is helping Broadmead Care “find the silver linings and unexpected moments,” as staff facilitate connections between residents and their families. “The fund is just amazing. It has ignited and united the community to make a significant difference. It’s very inspiring.”

ldickson@timescolonist.com

HOW TO DONATE

Tax receipts will be issued. If you are open to receiving your tax receipt by PDF, please include an email address with your donation.

• Online: RapidReliefFund.ca

• Phone: 250-381-5532

• Mail: Send cheques (made out to the Victoria Foundation) to RapidRelief Fund, Victoria Foundation, 200-703 Broughton St., Victoria V8W 1E2

The Rapid Relief Fund was created by the Victoria Foundation, the Jawl Foundation, and the Times Colonist to help people in need as a result of the COVID-19 pandemic. CHEK Television, Coast Outdoor Advertising and Black Press are helping to boost awareness. Every dollar received from donations goes out as grants to the community.

Donations are being distributed through the Victoria Foundation: http://victoriafoundation.bc.ca/rapid-relief-fund-disbursements

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