What made you want to become a recreation professional? How did you know that you wanted to pursue a career in this field?
I worked at Nortel for many years in Customer Service, but I wanted a change, so I took one year off to see what I wanted to do. I always enjoyed seniors, so I applied to Revera for a part-time position as a server in the dining room in the mornings and I loved it!
As time went on, I began learning about other aspects of the residence’s operations and got involved with the recreation activities and received training in this field from Revera. Eventually, the Director of Recreation position became available. I applied for it and the rest is history. The nice thing about starting in this role was that I already knew the residents and they knew me.
What have you been doing to keep your residents engaged during the pandemic?
We’ve been holding lots of room to room activities, such as mental aerobics, and a recreation activity booklet that I make up and deliver three times a week. The booklets include trivia, puzzles, crosswords, word search, sudoku, adult colouring projects. Theme days are very popular with our residents. We have a rolling afternoon wine and cheese cart, an ice cream “truck” (we had a lot of fun making that!), and a beverage cart with music playing for our deliveries. The goal with all our programs is to keep our residents engaged, happy, socially involved, and keep everyone moving.
What do you enjoy about working at Revera?
It’s like home! The residents are like family. Our management team supports each other in everything we do, and our staff here are the best! We’re one big family. Lisa Cowan, Stittsville Villa & Manor’s Executive Director, is always there to support me. She is a wonderful listener, and her positive attitude makes me want to do better in my job.
What is the most rewarding part of your job?
The most rewarding part of my job is when a resident comes into my office or the activity room and wants to just sit and chat. Also, I’m grateful to help new residents adjust to their new home when they move-in.
What is a favourite activity for your residents?
Our residents’ favourite activity would be any kind of entertainment that I book. They love dancing, singing, and socializing with each other. The most popular event would be our annual family and resident Christmas party.
What sets your residence apart from others?
Our residence is smaller than others. It’s very inviting when you walk in the front entrance with a beautiful staircase. It has a cozy atmosphere with a beautiful fireplace in the lounge with residents sitting enjoying each other’s company. The lifestyle here is warm, welcoming, and fun!
When are you happiest at work?
When you do something for a resident that you think is nothing, but it means so much to them. Also, when I return from vacation to them saying they missed me. It warms my heart. The residence is my second home, and I cherish my place in our residents’ lives.
What was an unexpected or a happy surprise about working with your residents?
The residents surprised me with “Andrea Appreciation Day.” Each letter of my name started a meaningful word. A – Awesome, N-Nice, D-Delightful, R-Respectful, E-Everyone’s Friend, A-Adored by all. It was so nice!
What have you learned from your residents?
Their life stories and how meaningful their experiences are. How difficult their lives were growing up, going through the war, and how thankful they are for everything in their lives now. They’re very inspiring.
What is the best compliment you have received from a resident?
The best compliment from a resident was that I am always someone they can count on. They can come to me anytime about anything. I am truly someone they can lean on and share with anytime. That was very meaningful to me.