Muskoka Shores Care Community began hosting an annual walk for the Alzheimer’s Society last year. Since then, the walk has turned into a monthly stroll enjoyed by both residents and team members.
“It’s a very simple program, but it was very successful,” said Shari Ecclestone, director of resident programs at Muskoka Shores Care Community in Gravenhurst. “We even have staff coming in on their days off to assist with the walks.”
The difference between this walk and all the other programing offered at the home is its scope. The entire home, all the residents and team members, are involved. Everyone comes out for the walk and the monthly walks it has inspired, which take place from April to October as the weather allows.
“The staff loved being able to help get the residents out,” Shari said. “Staff have said they enjoy relating to the residents outside of their regular jobs… and getting to see the residents on a different level.”
Team members are encouraged to go out for at least 15-20 minutes during the walks, taking one or more residents with them.
“It’s nice because they talk to each other and socialize,” Shari said. “It’s a lot of fun. You’ll see about 20 people out at the front. It’s just a really nice outside social.”
Well over 100 people participated in this year’s Walk for Alzheimer, with 62 of them being residents. Muskoka Shores raised $455 for the Alzheimer’s Society of Canada.
“It was a real feeling of community,” Shari said.
Situated in the middle of a short street, the placement of Muskoka Shores is ideal for the walks and gives residents a chance to walk as far and as long as they’d like. Balloons, glinting white and blue in the sun, line the entire street and music fills the air as residents, team members, family, and members of the community join together for the walk.
“Often after people have finished the walk they don’t want to come back in the building,” Shari said. “So they stay out, and we have a little social outside while the other people are doing the walk.”
Shari initially got the idea of hosting a Walk for Alzheimer event after residents asked her about the events held in both Bracebridge and Huntsville. However, those walks were too far away for the residents to have a chance to participate, so Shari brought the walk home.
“We have found that by having the walk at our home, we get so many more participants and many more residents can enjoy the fun of the day,” Shari said. “The residents were thrilled that they were able to participate and help out the Alzheimer’s society.”