Sherbrooke Community Centre is welcoming to all people, regardless of religious traditions or faith. Grounded in the principles of Christian ethics and compassion, Sherbrooke Community Centre is guided by 5 sponsoring Christian churches, (the Anglican, Mennonite, Presbyterian, Roman Catholic and United churches) all represented on the Board of Directors.
Spirituality involves the quest for meaning and purpose which is central to our lives. At Sherbrooke, we believe that a person’s worth and dignity derives from the fact that all people are spiritual beings deserving of love and respect regardless of physical and/or mental challenges.
Chaplains are an integral part of the multi-disciplinary care team, working with residents, CDP participants, families, staff and volunteers, to establish a compassionate community in which God’s love is known and shared.
Sherbrooke recognizes that abundant life is dependent on a human habitat of spontaneity and variety, shared wisdom and love. Despite many personal losses, Sherbrooke is a place of much joy and laughter; a place where, with God’s guidance, spiritual healing helps overcome physical and mental challenges. Here elders experience personal wholeness in the midst of brokenness and access loving community to assist in overcoming loneliness, boredom and helplessness.
Spiritual care is an integral part of the circle of care at Sherbrooke and is provided to all who desire it by chaplains and trained lay companions. We journey with individuals as they grow spiritually, function more effectively, build caring community, live abundantly, and die with dignity.
The Spiritual Centre/Chapel is the hub of spiritual care activities in the community. Regular and diverse worship services provided by a variety of denominations, memorial services, spiritual education opportunities and community events like weddings and anniversaries are marked in the Centre. Highlights each year include the celebration services of Thanksgiving, Remembrance Day, Advent and Christmas; Lent and Easter; and the Blessing of the Animals. Non-Christian services are also conducted as required including, sharing circles, memorial services in the tradition of first nations’ spirituality; and sweet grass and other ceremonies conducted by aboriginal elders. This year spiritual care week will be focussed on multi-faith celebrations reflecting the increasing cultural diversity of our resident population.
Food Glorious Food
What a strange machine man is! You fill him with bread, wine fish and radishes, and out of him come sighs, laughter and dreams. – Zorba the Greek”
Dining is one of life’s great pleasures, the smell of fresh coffee brewing, of a roast in the oven, garlic and spices in a good home made soup, fresh bread baking …mmmmgood!
Smell evokes memories of good times and family, guests and friends at your table. It means hospitality, tradition and holidays. It is fuel for our bodies and so much more. In the book Bon Appetit, by Zgola and Bourdillon the forward by Kathy Larenhue says ”dining is essential to our being. It is also, for many of us, the essence of our being”. So what happens to those of us who have a life long love affair with food when we come into long term care.
Mealtime assistance is one of the most intimate and bonding activities in which caregivers engage in long term care. For this reason training and education are vitally important. Mealtime assistance is a skill that must be learned in order to provide a dignified and pleasurable experience. Sherbrooke’s commitment to residents is not just keep people alive but to assist them to live full and abundant lives.
As a result, at Sherbrooke:
- We replaced large dining areas with smaller ones. In the Marleau/Wyant Residence each neighbourhood has a maximum of twenty people in the dining room and in the Veterans and Kinsmen Village there are 9 or 10 people. This provides opportunities for conversation and a more normal experience.
- All food is served family style - tray service has been eliminated.
- We offer a relaxed breakfast service so that residents can get up at their own pace and have a choice of muffins, fruit, yogurt and cereal to eat at their leisure.
- Volunteers and staff from various areas of Sherbrooke assist those residents who cannot eat independently so that they are not rushed at mealtime.
- Wherever possible residents participate in making meals, cutting up vegetables, setting tables, wiping tables, folding napkins etc.
- Some residents deliver juice and water to the neighbourhoods.
- A number of our management staff has participated in the Bon Appetit training program and currently we have established a committee to enhance the quality of the dining experience for residents. Although our staff and volunteers are dedicated and caring we need to continue to work on improving this important aspect of service to residents.
Harvest of Well-being
For prairie people, particularly our elders, gardening or just getting our hands in the earth is vital to our well being. What is better than fresh young summer vegetables and sweet strawberries and raspberries right from the garden? They evoke memories of childhood, of days on the farm, of market gardens, of sweating in the hot sun to bring home the harvest for the family and company to enjoy. Sherbrooke residents have those same memories and desire for those juicy tastes. In fact, 150 residents and their volunteer garden buddies worked last summer to grow vegetables and flowers in the garden boxes scattered like seeds around the Sherbrooke property.
One of Sherbrooke’s great gardeners is Mary Brown* “ The flower beds remind me of home. I was always praised for my gardening ability and especially for my flowers,” Mary said with some pride. “Mary always likes to squeeze a couple of tomato plants in among the flowers!” says Ramsay King, Sherbrooke’s master gardener.
This past summer, residents grew a large selection of small fruit type tomatoes, in their garden boxes. The fruits of their labour were then offered around Sherbrooke at resident mealtimes or to snack on. According to Ramsay King, Sherbrooke’s Master Gardener, “This important work instills pride and offers opportunities for residents to give back to their neighborhood.” Ramsay went on to say, “The Back 40 in ground vegetable patch gave up mounds of potatoes that were used as 2.5 pound gifts for friends and family. Carrots, beets and onions where grown and made into delicious soups used by the Community Day Program for self help meals.”
Larry Fitzpatrick loves to grow Manitoba tomatoes, he said, “I sell the plants I grow to staff and friends or I trade for other kinds of tomatoes for my box.”
Giant pumpkins were carved for Halloween and enjoyed by the residents and the children from the Oak Trees and Acorns Child Care Centre. In keeping with our recycling philosophy, the left-overs were used to make a “veggie mush” to feed a staff’s dogs.
Many of our day program participants and even some of the children were involved in watering and tending the plants both inside and outside the building. We have designed many paths through the gardens to encourage easy access for residents and scamper routes so the kids can get from one area to another as they work and enjoy the birds, flowers, butterflies and bugs.
Serge loves gardening and he claims, “ I bet I had the best sunflowers in Saskatoon. I grew Moonbrights and Incredibles, not bad for a guy like me.”
In 2003 the Veterans and Sherbrooke gardens won honourable mentions and $50 gift certificates in the Dutch Growers 50th Anniversary Garden Competition for best gardens in a long term care home. Residents were thrilled and continue to be extremely excited about their contribution. Ramsay King said “the gardening work at Sherbrooke has very good results, the gardens are productive. These are serious gardeners. Giving away the produce and flowers they work hard to grow is a very big deal for them, real pride is taken in this work.”
Jerry Kocay enjoys fresh dill on his potatoes - an old Ukrainian treat. “I love growing big beef tomatoes and I like to watch them grow from seeds, he says with a smile. “I enjoy eating, gifting and trading the fruits of my labour!”
Ramsay King says, “winters are long and like most gardeners, the thought of growing something keeps residents going all winter.”
Don’t assume that these gardeners are physically able, like the vast majority of people in long term care these folks live with a variety of major physical and cognitive disabilities. However, these limitations do not stop them from getting down and dirty. Pills and treatment for these residents are sealed in a package of nasturtiums.
Dogs are not our whole life, but they make our lives whole. – Roger Caras
Having Mocha the dog run up and lick your face or Ben the cat spring onto your lap is pure magic. When the only whistle you get is from Jack the bird, he becomes pretty special in your life. If feelings of companionship, well being, fun and pleasure that our pets bring could be bottled and sold it would make somebody rich!
At Sherbrooke our pets, whether they live or work at Sherbrooke, are the heart and soul of our community. Regardless of a person’s disability, whether they are confined to bed or living with dementia there is something about an animal that evokes feelings and memories.
To date we have pets in all areas of the Marleau/Wyant Residence and in the Veterans and Kinsmen Villages. There are 16 birds, 8 cats, 3 dogs, and 10 aquariums in addition to the working dogs that visit on a regular basis.
Each neighbourhood decides if they will have a pet and what kind. All of the pets are trained and they visit so staff can determine suitability and temperament before they make a final move into the neighbourhood. As much as possible we try to adopt pets from the local SPCA. A visit to the vet ensures that their immunization is up to date. Each neighbourhood develops a care plan for their pet. Residents and staff take responsibility for its care.
Training and selecting pets for a home like Sherbrooke is challenging and so we choose, in the case of cats and dogs, pets that are at least a year old. It is hard to know what behavioural problems might arise in that cute little puppy or how it will adapt to living in a large environment with lots of masters. However, the challenges are definitely worth the effort, as residents will attest.
Spotty the bird, is Cornie Wiebe’s buddy. Cornie a resident in the Kinsmen Village laughs as he scolds Spotty for pulling his hair. He says of his friend, “she flies in circles and then at night she tries to eat my snack.” Cornie provides all Spotty’s care and cleans her cage. He says with pride, “She knows me!”
To err is human to purr is feline – Robert Byrne
Jean Paul and Gary, two farmers from the Humboldt area, located approximately 100 km east of Saskatoon, have become great friends of Sherbrooke. In addition to their farming operation they are also market gardeners. Every week during the summer months Jean Paul and Gary bring fresh seasonal vegetables to Sherbrooke. On Wednesday mornings the hallways are a buzz with residents, staff and visitors lining up to buy fresh lettuce, carrots, kohlrabi, beets, new potatoes, peas, tomatoes, berries including the famous Saskatoon berries and other garden fresh delicacies.
Both great cooks, the guys bring homemade fruit pies, breads, cinnamon buns and other baking. Farm fresh eggs, Saskatchewan honey, preserves and pickles are part of the bounty. The farmer’s market gives residents opportunities to buy fresh items they might not get on the Sherbrooke menus and also to share their treats with guests or as gifts to family and friends. The market brings great quality to all of our lives at Sherbrooke and brings the outside world into our community.
For information on how to set up a farmer’s market in your care home please contact Patricia Roe (655-3602) at email@example.com or Colleen Grieman (655-3725) at firstname.lastname@example.org
The Journey Home
Thelma Pepper is a nationally recognized photographer who became involved with Sherbrooke when her husband Jim came to live with us. Mrs. Pepper decided to share her passion for photography by photographing residents, staff and volunteers as they go about the business of living life at Sherbrooke. Here is her story.
My name is Thelma, for three years, visited Sherbrooke every day to spend time with my husband. Over time I have come to appreciate the loving care that is so much in evidence in our community. Like any small Saskatchewan village, Sherbrooke residents live life. Through my photographs, I have tried to show how the interaction of unique individuals, in a caring community, make life full and abundant. Despite severe physical and cognitive abilities, simple pleasures are what add quality to life.
I believe that the Eden Alternative™, which is the basis for all of our interactions at Sherbrooke, made an enormous difference in my husband’s quality of life and in mine as his spouse. My question is, how many people know what is possible? I want more people to become knowledgeable about the philosophy and my contribution is to show panoramic views of a community that is changing. In my view, the photographs, all of which are in black and white, are evidence of how staff and families are encouraged to abandon institutional routines and engage fully with residents. These visual stories can help raise awareness about this important issue.
The Eden Alternative™ seeks to eliminate the three plagues of long term care institutions – loneliness, helplessness and boredom. I want to show others how companion animals, the opportunity to care for other living things, and the variety and spontaneity that mark an enlivened environment can succeed where pills and therapies fail.
Abundant Life – The Journey Home is the third in a series about prairie life. Decades of Voices and Highway 41 have both received national attention.
As a Saskatchewan artist, I am committed to telling the story of residents in long term care facilities in Saskatchewan. Rather than describing it as a desperate and lonely struggle I want the public to see what is possible if our society embraces a new philosophy which creates life worth living. Residents in long term care, of all ages, can live full and meaningful lives if we insist that “nursing homes” create a stimulating environment. Sherbrooke is receiving national and international attention for their new village concept. This visual exploration of life in a “Saskatchewan village” will help raise expectations and say to the viewing public, anything is possible. This unique portrayal of life in long term care surely will stimulate the public to want more for their aging parents, their child or themselves if they ever need long term care.
Editor’s note: You will see many of Thelma Pepper’s photographs throughout the website.
The soothing sounds of water spilling over rocks and the chirping of birds are a welcome addition to Sherbrooke. Thanks to the support of staff member Heather Fitz-Gerald her husband Brian, children Alison and Andrew and their family and friends, Shannon’s birds are now among us.
Shannon’s Birds Aviary is dedicated to the memory of 14 year old Shannon Fitz-Gerald, daughter of Brian and Heather Fitz-Gerald and sister of Alison and Andrew, who died on October 27, 2000.
Shannon trained birds so that they could live successfully in the Sherbrooke community. After Shannon’s death, her family, made a decision to move her birds from their home to Sherbrooke so more people could enjoy them. Through their generous support and with the support of the many donors who contributed to the project we have been able to open the first aviary of its kind in long term care in Saskatchewan. There are a number of varieties of birds living in the aviary. The colours are absolutely amazing, pinks, blues, bright reds, ochres and greens. We encourage you to read the information cards available to help you identify the birds.
Our little patch of paradise is of great interest to the community. Residents love the exotic birds and their songs. What an incredible opportunity for our residents and families to be able to see the “bird world” up close.
With lots of sweat, muscle and love Brian and his brother John Fitz-Gerald built a rock waterfall. Sherbrooke staff, Grace White, Jennifer Carr, Suellen Beatty and Heather Fitz-Gerald along with Shannon’s aunt Mary Piller and her cousins Heidi and Laura Connor painted paradise on the back walls and brought plants and natural branches and trees in to normalize the environment. The rocks, branches, twigs were found in Shannon’s favourite places including her beloved cottage at La Ronge, Sask. Alison and Andrew Fitz-Gerald were involved in the concept and worked hard to bring Shannon’s spirit and love of life to the project. Architect Lawrence Dressel of AODBT Architects donated his time to bring the vision to life.
Shannon’s Birds Aviary is located in the Village at the corner of Telemiracle Way and Poppy Lane. We invite you to come and experience the beauty of these amazing creatures.
Thank you to the many people who contributed so generously to this important initiative you have added variety and spontaneity to the environment and are giving residents many pleasurable moments in their home.
Through her love of birds and as a result of her generous and loving spirit, Shannon leaves a lasting legacy through these most amazing little creatures. Thank you Shannon, your memory will continue to live at Sherbrooke.
Sherbrooke Vintners’ Club
“In Vino Veritas”
(In wine, the truth)
“God in His goodness sent the grapes, to cheer both great and small; little fools will drink too much, and great fools not at all.”
An evening at home with friends and family, good fun, great food, fine wine and fellowship is anyone’s idea of a wonderful evening. At Sherbrooke, the Vintners Club has taken it to a new level. Every Thursday night from 6:30 – 8:30 you’ll find residents, families, volunteers and staff getting together for an evening of wine and beer making. Wine and beer making is a very popular pass time in Saskatoon and Sherbrooke residents have the bug!
The idea for the club originated with one of the recreation staff, Christine Pyra, who knew how much her friends enjoyed making wine and felt there were residents at Sherbrooke who would benefit from this experience. Christine approached Colleen Grieman for additional support as a global program and residents jumped in with both feet.
A friend of Sherbrooke was approached for direction in wine making and he introduced us to the owners of Poplar Springs, a wine and beer making supply store in Saskatoon.
The club began with about 15 members and has grown to over 30. Members will contribute $10.00 every couple of months to offset the cost of purchasing a new wine or beer kit and food. We have also had members of the club donate kits to be processed. The local owners of Poplar Springs have donated some wine kits, supplies, provided discounts on purchased supplies and attended some of the club nights providing excellent education and much needed tips on improving our wines.
Every Thursday evening we do a step in the wine or beer making process and end the evening with glasses of wine, beer, and some tasty food. The group serves cheese, crackers, pickles, and maybe some smoked oysters and olives for the gourmet’s in the group, or we may just stick with the always-popular “junk food”. The terrific conversation, jokes, and kind-hearted teasing add to a wonderful social evening.
Jerry Kocay a resident and expert vintner, said “ I really enjoy the process, that everyone is involved in, each resident helps out doing whatever they can from washing bottles, to mixing ingredients, to filling the bottles and corking them. It’s great fun!”
Shirley Kemp laughed and said, I love meeting new people, it’s a great opportunity to socialize.”
The Sherbrooke Vinters Club concept was presented in a video and discussion at the Eden Spring Fling this past year. Those who attended the conference inquired about the club and are considering similar clubs in their own long term care facilities. Residents are happy to share their success with others and are proud they are the first such wine making club of its kind in Saskatchewan.
“Where there is plenty of wine, sorrow and worry take wing.”