By Stan Ashbee
Alberta Newspaper Group
Pleasant View Lodge originally began providing senior housing and services in the Town of Bow Island in 1960. In 1978, self-contained units were added with the addition of 10 more self-contained units and rooms in 2003.
Karen Waldbauer has been Pleasant View’s chief administrative officer (CAO) for 10 years, but has worked at the lodge for the past 25 years. Waldbauer noted the lower level of the lodge has a total of 16 self-contained units — where residents can cook and do many other daily tasks on their own. There’s also 55 rooms on the main floor — where residents come out to the dining room for meals. Currently, Waldbauer said the lodge is 85 per cent full.
“When the lodge first started in 1960, there wasn’t even walkers allowed. You had to be self-sufficient and you needed to just come out for meals and not require any extra care,” Waldbauer explained. “In 1996, we started having home care come in to help assist with care with residents.”
In 2012, according to the CAO, a contract was signed between the lodge and Alberta Health Services (AHS). “Where we can have a higher level of care — being a Supportive Living Level 3 of 20 beds.”
“We were able to have our own healthcare aides on staff. We still have RNs part of AHS home care that do the case manager work,” she said.
Waldbauer said the level of care at Pleasant View has definitely increased since the early days of the lodge, as residents are much older than they were 25 years ago. “They are staying in their homes longer because they can have home care support help them in their own homes and people are living longer. But, our ages are older when they come in.”
One reason for the lodge’s viability and success is its encouragement for residents to consider Pleasant View as their home. “Not to be a hospital — this is their home. We provide them meals, but they decorate their room the way they want and they make it very personable. And we offer entertainment here — we have exercises. We have an activity co-ordinator who works five days a week to co-ordinate different activities,” she said.
And residents can come and go, as they please. “It’s not a lockdown facility.”
Walbauer said activities including bingo, cards, and entertainment (at least twice a month) are always on tap at Pleasant View. Plus, the lodge has its own handi-bus. “Once a week our activity co-ordinator takes the bus to town shopping, so they can do their banking and they can do different things. Once a month, they go to Medicine Hat shopping. They go to the mall and to Wal-Mart and go out for dinner.”
As for a resident’s transition from a home setting to the lodge, Walbauer said staff at Pleasant View don’t want residents moving in to feel they’re coming to live in a facility. “We want them to feel like this is their home. We assist them with their care the same way as they would be assisted in their own home. Here we provide the meals and extra care.”