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Enriching communities through education, opportunities

April 14th, 2022

Lisa Smith is always looking for new ways to enrich the lives of residents at Points West Living communities. In her most recent role as Recreation Therapist at PWL Stettler, she was closely involved in running various programs for residents and encouraging engagement and participation in a wide range of purposeful activities.

New role helps to support communities

In her newest endeavour, as Life Enrichment Ambassador (LEA), Lisa will be supporting communities to welcoming new initiatives, helping to ensure healthy, meaningful relationships and experiences for residents, families, Employee Care Partners and other community collaborators.

“When COVID hit, our recreation service areas were really struggling,” Lisa explains. “It impacted so many areas of our programming and services, it was clear that more support was needed.”

Grant funding brings new programs to communities

As an LEA, Lisa will be able to support various PWL communities with implementing new and exciting community initiatives. Thanks to her hard work over the past several months, grant applications - valued at $66,000 - were approved for eight communities to implement the Java Music Club program.

Lisa, recreation therapists and other recreation care partners are thrilled to be implementing this exciting program, aimed at fostering peer-support relationships through a variety of meaningful discussions utilizing music, photography and reading.

“The program has been heavily researched, and shows a significant reduction in depression and loneliness,” Lisa says. “It’s all about giving residents a chance to talk about meaningful topics, build connections and even to reach out to others and build friendships. It’s helping our residents to take control of their situations and improve their happiness and their connections.”

Lisa has another project in the works as well, a trial run testing out new, user-friendly recreation software for ECPs to utilize to help monitor resident participation. “In recreation, we are able to do our jobs so much more effectively when we can track the results,” Lisa explains, noting that six communities have been approved for the new software and recreation teams have recently been trained to implement it.

Past favourites, new initiatives being planned

Many of Lisa’s past successes with PWL will be carried on in her new role as Life Enrichment Ambassador, including the Heka Walk Challenge which she is in the early stages of planning for this summer.

She has big plans for other programs and activities that will help create connections and relationships for residents beyond the communities as well, such as a pen pal program that would invite volunteers to lend a hand.

“With my new position, the whole purpose is to enhance enrichment, not just for residents but for ECPs and their connections with families and community organizations,” she says. “Everything I do is providing the knowledge and support for how to enhance that enrichment - it’s very exciting!”

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