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‘Garden of Gratitude’ the centre of a new KBRH Health Foundation project

The Columbia View Lodge Garden of Gratitude grew from Mary and Richard’s story.
Richard and Mary. Photo: Submitted

Surrounding families and their loved ones with fragrant greenery in a tranquil setting is the vision behind a newly launched Kootenay Boundary Regional Hospital (KBRH) Health Foundation project for a Trail care home.

The Columbia View Lodge Garden of Gratitude grew from Mary and Richard’s story.

“My husband Richard was diagnosed with an extremely aggressive form of early-onset Alzheimer’s when he was 59 years old,” Mary began. “As time progressed, we realized at some point he would likely require more care and need to have 24-hour supervision. We could not have found a better home for his last months than Columbia View Lodge. Richard was cared for with love, patience and kindness by all.”

The Garden of Gratitude project is a $200,000 project that will prioritize restoration of the three garden courtyard areas at Columbia View Lodge, keeping them fully accessible and usable. Fundraising for the Garden of Gratitude project is now underway through the KBRH Health Foundation.

“Through our personal journey of care, we realized the garden courtyards for residents’ use have not received the attention they deserve,” explained Mary. ”Alzheimer’s patients can benefit deeply from having access to a safe, tranquil garden space.”

For people living with Alzheimer’s, gardens can carry gentle reminders of past experiences and jog the memory through scents, visual cues, and participating in the act of gardening.

“They are also helpful for the caregivers, who greatly benefit from this much deserved place of peace,” Mary said.

“All who live, visit and work within this residence should feel pride and have a place to go that is comforting, peaceful and beautiful. To help Columbia View Lodge’s gardens accurately reflect the care, attention, love and commitment that is provided inside, I ask you to become involved with the Columbia View Lodge Garden of Gratitude Project.”

Enhancements to the 76-bed lodge will include: installation of concrete throughout the outdoor space to widen pathways and ensure safe patient access and flow; sun shade covers; planting beds of various shrubs with a variety of flowers, bloom times and heights, for differing times of the year so that patients can enjoy the gardens throughout the seasons; installation of irrigation where needed; and some smaller garden pots/raised beds that residents can help maintain and use for a gardening program. As well, the concrete extension would allow for a larger gathering area for patient recreational programming, potentially including new furniture and a fire pit.

This project will not only benefit the residents, but also their families, visitors and the dedicated staff who provide care each and every day.

“A diagnosis of Alzheimer’s disease is devastating for families, with those afflicted often requiring full-time care in a specialized facility due to the complex needs of the Alzheimer’s patient,” says Lisa Pasin, executive director, KBRH Health Foundation.

“A family’s decision to move their loved one away from their family home and into a facility is often difficult and heart breaking.”

To help grow a Garden of Gratitude for those living with, caring for and/or supporting those affected by Alzheimer’s disease, donations can be made by phoning 250.364.3424 and through the foundation website:

Donations of any value are accepted with gratitude.

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Sheri Regnier

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