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Community Mapping Capacity - Elderly Community - Controlled vs. Uncontrolled


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Community Mapping Capacity. Elders, a perspective on a controlled environment(Nursing Home) versus an uncontrolled environment(Overall Town).

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Community Mapping Capacity - Elderly Community - Controlled vs. Uncontrolled

  1. 1. Community Mapping Capacity Senior’s Village and Community in Nanaimo By: Jasmine Wells
  2. 2. Introduction I was inspired to study and observe the senior’s community throughout Nanaimo, and I ended up doing two community walks. One in Nanaimo and the other in Ladysmith, where I live. I work at Nanaimo Senior’s Village as a dietary aide, all the while picking up on all sorts of differing personalities, background stories, hard times, and the overall hardships that the residents talk about daily. With such a jump from one generation to the next, it’s always challenging to work around customs that aren’t your own and that you haven’t been brought up with. It has been everything from intriguing, amusing, heartbreaking, and sometimes downright stressful to work at NSV around people who suffer from Dementia and Alzheimer’s. I have done a community walk of both NSV and The Bean Time, a coffee house in Ladysmith. NSV is the controlled environment, meaning that all the customers are of a certain age group and are also the residents. By default, there are only elders. I did my second walk in The Bean Time to observe more diversity and compare the controlled and independent environment, to gain a perspective on the two environments.
  3. 3. Community Walk (Part 1) – NSV Bistro – Controlled Elderly Environment The bistro in Nanaimo Senior’s Village has nine tables with four chairs at each. There are lounging couches all facing a piano, where the Recreational department always has people coming in to put on mini shows, play the piano, amongst other things to keep the residents entertained. With permission from my boss during my recovery time post tonsillectomy, I was able to sit in the perfect corner and read through the brochures, observe the conversation, and see how the residents interacted. The daily lives of most of our residents is convenience mixed with immobility. A beautiful suite, designed for comfort. The residents get some choice in their food, and there are still personality conflicts that arise during social interaction.
  4. 4. Community Walk(Part 1) – Continued Some of the commonalities that exist between the residents in the controlled environment is hardships, the era they grew up in, customs, table manners and etiquette, holidays and religious backgrounds, and most of all, immobility. As with everything, there are some differences that exist. When I see residents grabbing their hot drinks and pastries, there’s different tastes in how they make their coffee, how they prefer their tea, which pastry they enjoy, and simple things that spark conversation. More in depth differences that are underlying from mere observation is how they grew up, where their families come from, where they were born, their taste in food and music, the way they carry themselves and interact with others, and how they respond to conflict. There are some residents that were always very irate due to their frustration from being in a nursing home, dementia, losing their mobility, having trouble with certain foods, and lacking the ability to do a lot of the things they could do when they were younger. This causes an effect of certain residents being negative towards others. There are two of them that are eavesdropping and causing some minor trouble. Seeing different reactions from different cultures and beliefs surfaces through conflict.
  5. 5. Community Walk(Part 1) – Continued Some of the strengths of the controlled elderly community are the unity of elders, the ability to relate, more opportunities to interact, a sense of bonding, power in numbers,and more ways to communicate their problems to the care aids that work around them. It is challenging to find a lot of strengths and diversity in the controlled environment because there isn’t as much diversity age wise, and losing mobility results in a sense of lost strength. Challenges that exist in the Nanaimo Senior’s Village are immobility, dementia, ageism, lack of care due to power in numbers, prone to illness, and the occasional conflict with other residents. There are services that exist to cater to all their needs, such as care aids, locks on the doors from multi-level(serious dementia ward), safety precautions and education to all staff, 24 hour service available(overnight care), and recreational activities throughout the month.
  6. 6. Services Available – Brochures Unfortunately my scanner would not work, so I took photos of the package that potential and new residents receive to gain more knowledge about Nanaimo Senior’s Village.
  7. 7. Services Available - Brochures In the package it features a six month rotation menu, the calendar for that month with the activities that are happening, safety precautions, services provided, suite sizes and pricing, as well as options to go to Highgate, the cheaper and independent living facility.
  8. 8. Community Walk(Part 1) – Continued There isn’t a large variety of cultures in this facility. A majority of the residents are Caucasian and of a Christian upbringing. There are a few who are of Hindu descent, one Chinese woman, and a woman who has reported to have been a lesbian but is now secretive about it since entering into the facility. The age range in the facility is from 75-102. The variety of age and people across the lifespan board is very limited. The few younger residents are in NSV due to brain damage, massive strokes, Parkinson’s Disease, or Multiple Sclerosis. The activities that the residents are involved in consist of Bingo, lunch and dinner outings once every other week, salon specialists who come in monthly, entertainment from the Recreational department, and more activities to choose from. Nanaimo Senior’s Village is the newest facility on the island, with documentation only remaining in the building. Since it’s a confidential place catering to senior’s mobility and safety, the only things in the Nanaimo City Hall that are mentioned about NSV are the options for seniors who need the care along with NSV promotion. With permission from residents and Management, I surveyed 72 residents on what they felt were great strengths in the home, and what assets were essential to them. The layout I used on the survey sheet was to write as much as they could about what strengths they saw in themselves and others, and what they felt they could improve on.
  9. 9. Surveying – Assets, Strengths, and Social Media After sorting and reading all the ballots, the commonalities between each of their strengths was knowledge, inspiration, brain development, advice on past careers, compassion after prolonged work ethic, and overall hard working generation. The weaknesses that were stated was, as mentioned, immobility, frailty, health problems, mental health issues, loss of family and friends after aging, feeling like a “weight” on the government system, feelings of discomfort from younger generations, high cost of living and assistance, and feeling like they’re straining their loved ones due to their age and living situation. An ad for moving assistance to get into NSV as a new resident. Spa company ad for NSV and Retirement Home services.
  10. 10. Social Media (Continued) I was unable to find physical forms of newspaper clippings, but there are a lot of controversial cases that have been found on NSV and the Retirement Concepts Chain and the treatment of staff and residents. “At Retirement Concepts Nanaimo Seniors Village (NSV), a family member made allegations last year about inadequate wound care provided to her father…The Nanaimo Seniors Village has been the focus of considerable media attention this year(2007), amidst charges that Retirement Concepts has weakened quality of care in a series of subcontractor changes that have seen care aid staff fired repeatedly and re-hired at lower wages.” Source - In more recent articles such as the one below, it is evident that NSV has done quite a turn around, with this cover story of an improved housing unit published in January 2014. “At Nanaimo Seniors Village, people can live as independently as they like, but receive additional assistance and support if it is required through our in-house home support. Seniors can enjoy the fun and friendship that life at the Village has to offer and leave the day to day responsibilities to the professionals. Nanaimo Seniors Village is a full “Campus of Care”, meaning that residents can age in place. As residents’ needs change, they do not have to look for a new place to live – their needs can be accommodated right here at one location within our three buildings.” Source -
  11. 11. Drop In – Observations Before dropping by the home on my day off, I decided to imagine myself going into this building for the first time, never having seen anything before I gained employment there. I asked myself questions to familiarize memories and thoughts I first had when I walked in for my interview. Where am I? What part of the building am I in? Are these residents aware of their surroundings? How do they feel about guests and unfamiliar visitors? Why are they looking at me differently? What do I see, smell, feel, and sense? Little things I noticed were how intrigued the residents became with new people, especially younger people, because it reminded them of happier times. The residents were relaxed, most of them passing the time until their dining room was ready for service. Small talks were had around the bistro area, consisting of things like where they grew up, their ethnic backgrounds, and fashion from that era. Bulletins, pamphlets, and brochures in the facility were much like the photos above. The main focus was safety of the residents and employees. Other pamphlets were focused on beauty and maintenance, events for seniors to meet fellow seniors, outings, dances, overall celebrations such as Saint Patrick’s Day. My first impressions with NSV was that it is clean and pristine, professional, heavily concerned about the well being of the residents, mild lack of consistency with the Reception area, and lastly, that the place itself had a very formal sense to it.
  12. 12. Assets and Strengths – Building Blocks Primary building blocks with NSV are the care aids, the 24 hours protection, and the servers who are willing to help feed residents and assist in their eating and daily life. NSV gives the residents the opportunity to write their own stories and scrapbook memories, making their stay more pleasant as an experience. Secondary building blocks are the health administrators that run the Retirement Concepts chain, which manages NSV, regional management, and the Vancouver Island Health Authority. The administrators and management do inspections, stay up to date, and ensure the safety and wellbeing of residents within the facility. They manage the outside, such as food orders and hiring nurses and care aids, all the while focusing on the long term on the outside too. Lastly, Potential building blocks would be the resident’s guests, the transporters of products and goods, and the outside people who come in and transport residents to outings and dining elsewhere, outside recreational activities coming into the facility, and salon experts who come in monthly. All these building blocks are what have cause NSV to become more positive, consistent, and fluent in the care of residents.
  13. 13. Community Walk (Part 2) – Uncontrolled Environment – The Bean Time As explained, this is my uncontrolled environment in Ladysmith, where there are a lot of elder residents who live here, alongside high school aged students and younger children. The larger diversity of age in an open environment helps to contrast and compare the two scenarios. When sitting in, “In TheBeanTime”, I observed the other residents who live here. The daily lived reality that I can see is a small group of high school kids having their lunch, two middle aged couples having their snack and conversing, and three elderly couples enjoying the sunshine, sitting outside, and having a cold drink. What I have noticed since living in Ladysmith is the sense of community that lives here, and the amount of people who talk to you openly regardless of how you look or what your age is.
  14. 14. Community Walk (Part 2) – Continued Some commonalities that the residents share is that sense of community, relation, and concern for keeping Ladysmith as a fluent and stable place. It’s a small town of 5000 people, so everyone knows each other, their families, and the owners of all the shops. It’s the right amount of people to make it a comfortable small town without the “fishbowl” aspect, but it isn’t nearly large enough to be considered of a Nanaimo sized population. There are differences such as the age groups, point in life, occupation, diet, family life, ethnicity, and interests. Apart from just the strong sense of community here, there are strengths such as serious concern for those in the community who need it, kindness to strangers, a welcoming approach to everybody, locals that are willing to know more about you and inquire about you, 90% of the shops here are locally owned, an overall comfortable setting.
  15. 15. Community Walk (Part 2) - Continued If you go into Ladysmith’s official town office they will contain your standard introduction to the town, places you can see, and attractions that everyone can go to. There is a really small section on the far left corner on the left hand side of the area which has Narcotics Anonymous pamphlets, AA meetings, and support groups for women and children with money struggles. Other services that exist in local shops is their common public catering, but there are bulletin/cork boards on the side of the hotel along the main drag with concert and show events, more NA meetings, nanny and dog walking businesses, and new things happening in the small town itself. The cultures that are mostly represented here are Aboriginal and Caucasian. Since this is another Native town, there are totem poles in certain spots, but there is the eclectic mix of the 1950’s era with it.
  16. 16. I see a lot of people across the lifespan, including very young children with their parents, older women meeting up at all the cafes around town and shopping at the health food store, and very few young adults like myself. The town caters mostly to young parents and retired people, while still donning Aboriginal artwork. The activities that locals partake in here is shopping, strolling along the boardwalk and beach, yoga, events with their children such as local crafts, etc. There are opportunities for seniors to interact here too, with all the cafes, bakeries and places to see. The town of Ladysmith also hosts events for seniors such as craft fairs and reading clubs. Community Assets and Strengths As stated before, Ladysmith has strengths that cater to just about all ages, are finding great ways of reaching out to their residents, taking care of occupying their elders, and identifying issues that need to be taken care of. The senior’s population of Ladysmith are very positive and active, and after speaking to some of them in the café community walk, they were more than pleased to talk about their experiences in the town. The elderly residents of Ladysmith feel that other strengths that this town carries are bringing up a good work ethic, due to most of the companies hiring high school students and elders, there are volunteering opportunities at the thrift shop and other places here, and that the diversity helps to give an open upbringing for younger generations. The elderly residents have also mentioned feeling a large sense of comfort and safety when they travel on foot around town, not only because of the friendliness, but also the volunteers who help with fire rescue and road spotting.
  17. 17. Primary building blocks of Ladysmith are the locals who are willing to keep the town alive and well, the elders who volunteer and stay active in the community, and the locally owned shops that make the town authentic. Secondary building blocks of Ladysmith are the town administration office, the few chain stores that exist, and the Chamber of Commerce. Potential building blocks of Ladysmith are the people who drive through the town to either get to Victoria or Nanaimo, and stop by to eat/drink something and the overall resources that come into Ladysmith from elsewhere(i.e. grocery store produce). Community Assets and Strengths – Continued There are assets as well, and a few downfalls that Ladysmith has; there has been reports of missing teens in the past such as the most recent finding of a body back in August 30, 2013. Story: Although there are issues such as this everywhere, residents, city hall documents, and police reports have noted that Ladysmith has always had a bad record for Breaking and Entering cases in homes around Christmas time. Specifically when The Festival of Lights is happening, where the main drag is packed with people out of town and the locals are out of their homes to see the light shows. There are very common cases all year around of Breaking and Entering cases into cars during the night in specific neighbourhoods where change goes missing and documents are strewn all over their vehicles.
  18. 18. Drop In – Observations When I dropped into the agency in the Town of Ladysmith, I noticed how clean and organized everything was, filled with bulletins on town news and ways to reach out to the troubled youth and addictions crowd. My first impression was how easy going the town itself was. I asked myself questions such as, “How do I feel being in this town?”, “What are some of the issues that occur yearly?”, “How do the elders feel? Are there any struggles that they feel they have?”, and “As a young adult, how does it feel to live here?” Since I work full time in Nanaimo, I find I spend a lot more time there than I do at my own house, so I still had that sense of being a visitor. The view of the town is easier to take in than my previous visit, because of the variety and the amount of people who acknowledge culture as more than something to fear. The perk of Ladysmith is that out of town people have dubbed it the, “Hippie Capital” of the Island. There are local health food shops, bakeries that cater to celiac disease, a local book store, and a Birkenstock shoe store. Little things I noticed with the town of Ladysmith is that it’s very eclectic, colourful, like a mini BC equivalent of San Francisco. The residents are a lot more accepting of difference and odd commodities.
  19. 19. Photo credit: Myself, Taken in San Francisco, Haight-Ashbury area, September 2013. The Hippie/Summer of Love district of California, admiring the emphasis on community, animals, empowerment, and the unity of people.
  20. 20. Photo credit: Myself, Taken in Ladysmith. House for sale down the street, and this was the sign that was behind it. The promotion of creativity.
  21. 21. Media Clippings There are a few main websites where you can view information on Ladysmith, such as the Ladysmith Chamber of Commerce at The main website for news between Chemainus and Ladysmith is the Ladysmith Chronicle at With the Ladysmith Chronicle comes a subcategory for all kinds of things like events in the future, events that just happened, and an interesting category called, “Opinions”, which talks about issues happening in the town and what the locals think about it. For the elderly population, Ladysmith has made it’s own site for elders wanting to gain more post secondary education at learning-opportunities-for-the-50-crowd. The Ladysmith Resources Centre Association helps transition people into easier living in Ladysmith at Lastly, there is a small nursing home in Ladysmith for the elders who have lost their mobility. It’s called The Lodge on 4th , funded by Compass.
  22. 22. The pictures above are from the documented time periods of 1920’s(first photo) and 1898/99(second photo), recording the time when the very first Ladysmith pub was opened(and is still going strong), and when the 1920’s economy started picking back up. Found: Ladysmith Museum and Artifacts.
  23. 23. Conclusion – Controlled vs. Uncontrolled With the controlled environment, I felt like it was a safe environment, but it was very formal, making outsiders feel slightly uncomfortable if they are not of the same age group. There was a lot less diversity because of the circumstances of the residents. It’s more challenging to go from one end of the spectrum to the next. The controlled environment was also very limiting in a sense of city hall documents and social media, because with the limited age group available came a generation who wasn’t as tech savvy as their younger counterparts. The uncontrolled environment felt a lot more relaxed because of the variety. There was a lot less racism to be found because of the acceptance that’s been developing the last few generations. The elder residents were more content and adamant to talk about the town, because they weren’t immobile. The biggest similarity I could find with both environments was the massive concern of the well being and safety of their residents. It was easier to access information on the history of Ladysmith and speak with the elderly residents because of the stable sense of mind, and accessing files from residents at NSV would require further permission with their story to read. Below photo: Ladysmith Loggers. Found: Ladysmith Museum and Artifacts.