Seniors find companionship and a sense of belonging at Millrise Place

Published Sunday, April 8, 2012

Seniors find companionship and a sense of belonging at Millrise Place

Seniors’ assisted living accommodation provides a welcoming home that seniors call their own.


Residents appreciate the privacy and peacefulness of Millrise Place’s outdoor garden courtyard and gazebo.



Canada’s seniors are living longer than ever before, a trend that has also allowed them to remain in their homes with the support of family members. However, as aging parents require more assistance, their support network can be challenged and hampered with family and work related commitments.


This situation can add stress to families who already feel guilty about not spending enough quality time supporting their parents. On the flip side, it also deprives the grandparents of the ability to regularly see their children and grandchildren.


Millrise Place's Colleen Baxter with employee Big Bike Team Spirit award from Alberta Heart and Stroke.

Millrise employees raised $10,000 and won the award for the second year in a row.



“We see this all the time,” says Colleen Baxter, Millrise’s Marketing and Resident Relations Manager. “When families start to think about a seniors’ residence for their mom or dad, it’s often too late for assisted living accommodation like we offer at Millrise Place. By the time families make this decision, their loved ones may develop significant health or mobility issues that require hospitalization and in some cases specialized, long-term care.”


“What some family support networks routinely overlook is the quality of life that their parents could potentially experience in assisted living. The benefit of an assisted living environment is that residents can get on with living their life instead of taking care of a home. Some people think that assisted living residences will limit their independence. Nothing could be further from the truth. We have residents that still drive their vehicles and are constantly on the go outside of our premises. If anything — it frees seniors to meet new friends and feel that they belong to a community of like-minded individuals.”

 Millrise hairdresser keeps residents looking their best.


“We often see seniors’ spirits lifted after they move out of their home into our residence — because they feel wanted and needed — they find companionship with others and feel like they belong here — that Millrise Place is their home. Our residents develop personal bonds with many of our staff from the receptionist through to nursing, housekeeping and food service staff.”


Adds Baxter, “It’s really apartment style living with many added services (e.g. care, security, meals, housekeeping

and activities) that are managed by professional staff in a nurturing and compassionate environment where each

resident is respected and treated with dignity. Then there are many value added features too, such an in-residence hairdresser, underground heated parking, beautiful outdoor garden courtyard, and we’re very close to public transportation and shopping.”


“The upside is that it’s often a win-win for both our residents and their family network. Residents are happier surrounded by like-minded seniors and a friendly support team of skilled caregivers. Once a resident settles in, receives proper medical care and nutrition, meets new friends, and participates in activities, we regularly see great improvement in their overall outlook and health. One comment we hear regularly, is ‘why didn’t I move here sooner?”


“Family members also benefit. They are more relaxed and relieved with the knowledge that their loved one is safe and secure. When they visit, they can spend quality time with them instead of doing chores to maintain or fix the house. Some family members are genuinely surprised to learn that their loved one has an active social life both inside and outside of the residence and are often on the go. “


Everybody knows Cassandra Payce, Millrise’s Recreation Therapist. She has the fun job

of engaging residents in year round fun. That includes a lot of special events and social activities.

Finding companionship, belonging to a community, being wanted and fitting in — are all important values to seniors. When Ardell first came to Millrise, it was with her husband who has since passed. That was six years ago. Ardell still drives a car today and is very independent. “Millrise is my home. We are treated like family. I feel safe and warm and respected. My medical needs are cared for and I’m well fed. Then there are what I call the ‘extras’. The staff know me by my first name. There is a lot going on here at Millrise with entertainment — music, games, singing, dancing. There are also plenty of outside trips. It’s great to get out every once and a while. At Millrise I have lots of friends both old and new.”

For Linda Read, knowing her mom is in capable hands gives her family a sense of confidence and relief. “A visit to Millrise Place starts with a cheery smile at reception and a greeting from every staff member one meets along the way. The entire staff including the cleaning staff know my mom by name and they treat her with respect, professionalism and a genuine sense of caring.


During visits, I have observed situations requiring interactions between residents and staff. I have always been impressed with how these interactions are handled in a kind and positive way.” 


Providing the highest level of care for the elderly just doesn’t happen. It’s about finding the right people with the best education and experience. Jackie MacLeod knows — she’s been a nurse in a variety of challenging environments for the past 25 years. She’s the Nurse Educator at Millrise.


“We are committed to ongoing education at Millrise,” says MacLeod. “We invest a lot of time educating and updating our employees on the current best practices to provide quality care for our residents.”


Keeping seniors active and happy has a lot to do with Millrise Place’s Recreation Therapist. Her name is Cassandra Payce and her goal is to create and engage Millrise Place’s residents in year round fun, including special events, therapeutic programs and social activities. On most visits to Millrise Place, you’ll find it decked out in with an engaging and colourful theme.



                        The Millrise bus keeps residents on the go


Some are familiar, such as Christmas, Valentine’s, St. Patrick’s, Easter and Stampede. Others include Robbie Burns, Mardi Gras, Cinco De Mayo, and Oktoberfest. In addition to the numerous special events and social activities Payce and her team provide approximately 20 therapeutic activities including aromatherapy, baking, gardening, music therapy and animal assisted therapy. Millrise Place makes good use of their bus too — country drives, restaurants and shopping are just a few of the destinations.


“Our residents have a broad range of mental and physical abilities,” says Payce. “My role is to assess each senior and develop therapeutic programs and events that address their specific needs. All of our residents participate with the dances being the most popular. They like getting together to listen to the music and reminisce. This type of event is something that is comfortable, familiar and fun for them.”