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Trailblazers for Culture Change 2024

The Trailblazers for Culture Change awards are a national award and recognition program designed to recognize initiatives, programs, or day-to-day practices that change the culture of aging. CapitalCare is thrilled to announce that programs from CapitalCare Strathcona, the Kipnes Centre for Veterans, and CHOICE South have been nominated as Trailblazers for Culture Change.

CapitalCare Strathcona – Intergenerational Activity Patio

CapitalCare Strathcona's Intergenerational Activity Patio initiative was nominated for the Trailblazers for Culture Change award after being inspired by dialogue at the 2022 Walk With Me conference.

CapitalCare’s senior care facilities were designed with residents at the forefront of every decision. While this results in designs that reflect resident needs, it creates a need to thoughtfully integrate spaces for multiple generations, including children. The CapitalCare Strathcona team wanted to ensure residents, parents and children benefit from intergenerational activities during visits, so they worked with residents and local play-structure specialists to reimagine spaces that will engage children more effectively and encourage longer, higher-quality visits. Thus, the Intergenerational Activity Patio was born.

Whether it’s the play area for middle-school aged children, the large X-and-O game that persons in wheelchairs can wheel up to, or the outdoor setups for international games like corn hole and horseshoes, these activity spaces keep children engaged while also stimulating residents.

When multiple generations collaborate, learn, and play together, they foster a sense of community and well-being. Spontaneous participation and play in communal spaces creates a home-like environment which doesn’t require additional resources to coordinate. Creating accessible and enabling environments supports engagement and community connection, and the Intergenerational Activity Patio is a leading example of how designing spaces with intergenerational participation in mind could be shared with senior care facilities nationwide. By Working Together with Purpose, the CCS team devised a thoughtful solution that improves residents’ quality of life and reinforces the values of person-centred care.

Kipnes Centre for Veterans – Youth Connections Program

The Youth Connections Program at Kipnes brings youth volunteers into the centre and pairs them up with Kipnes residents who share similar skills or interests. Facilitated by the community services coordinator and members of the recreation therapy team, the program creates symbiotic relationships between residents and volunteers, where both members in a pair learn new skills, explore their interests, and gain valuable life experiences.

Take the story of Everette and Diane, for example. Everette—a youth volunteer—is an avid writer, and Diane—a Kipnes resident—is a published author. The two were paired because of their shared interest in writing and storytelling. Whenever Everette and Diane spend time together, they take turns reading and editing each other’s work, continually inspiring one another with new ideas and learning opportunities.

Or the story of Tuleen, who first became a volunteer at Kipnes while in grade 11. She was surprised by how much fun she had with Kipnes residents and encouraged her fellow students to volunteer too. When she first started volunteering, she was considering a career in nursing. Now, a couple years later, she is in her first year in a nursing program and well on her way to establishing the career of her dreams.

Bonnie, a resident at Kipnes, smiling at a young girl visiting the centre.

By Being PresentBeing Yourself, and Coming from the Heart, residents and volunteers establish meaningful relationships. But that starts with staff at the Kipnes Centre Putting People First, which is one of the core values of person-centred care. Along with Growing and Learning, the Youth Connections program helps bridge the gap between the elderly and youth, changing the culture of aging one connection at a time.

CHOICE South – John Patrick Maglalang (Parkinson’s Program and Occupational Therapy Innovations)

John Patrick Maglalang—a Therapy Assistant working at CHOICE South's Occupational Therapy (OT) program—has been instrumental to the innovation and development of the centre's OT program. He assisted with developing a Parkinson's specific group and worked collaboratively to create specialized programming, such as functional activity stations that mimic a client's home environment. Numerous clients have been able to restore their autonomy and improve their quality of life thanks to John's efforts.

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John Patrick Maglalang standing beside a functional activity station.

John’s innovations have greatly improved clients’ adherence to treatment sessions. He’s been involved in several success stories and enabled clients to achieve goals they previously considered unattainable. John helped them recover their ability to perform the essential tasks of daily independent living, like reaching for glasses from a cupboard, unloading a dishwasher, or even playing with their pets. He also helped them restore their capacity to spend quality time with loved ones.

Beyond his contributions to the OT program and clients’ lives, John exhibits compassion and empathy throughout his practice. Strengthened by a wealth of knowledge, John communicates clearly and radiates positivity and encouragement. He regularly goes above and beyond for clients and team-members alike, with one client sharing that John plans to help him make maple taffy soon. Efforts like John’s change the culture of aging by empowering seniors to maintain their autonomy and live with a sense of dignity and purpose.

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