April 1 - Hello everyone. 

I imagine you are all settling into this new routine and I hope you are managing well. Continue to reach out to your neighbours to offer support and to ask for it as well.

 

I have a couple of ideas that I think might help you stay well and stay happy. 

 

Peer Helpers at Walker House

We periodically have workshops here where members volunteer to help others with a craft or project and we affectionately call these, “the blind leading the blind” because we do not claim to be experts in the field; we are just sharing what experience we have. Well, it’s my turn this week! I have purchased Zoom for Walker House and I’ll be trying out a couple of virtual meetings here because I MISS YOU!!

 

Obviously, some of our activities are going to be hard to do in a virtual mode, but how nice would it be to pour yourself a coffee, grab your yarn, and share an hour with your knitting group? All you need is a computer, tablet, or smartphone that has a camera and a microphone and you’ll be good to go. Take some time before your first meeting to download Zoom from the app store (it’s free to use), I will be the host and I’ll send out emails to the group that contain a link that you follow to your meeting and voila! There will be a bit of a learning curve, but I think it will be so worth it! If you want to join in and you aren’t on our email list, then you can send me a request at walkerhouse@prescott.ca. I’ll advertise upcoming group meets in advance on our Facebook page and also via our email newsletter. I also have the ability to start a chat and then pass the host torch to one of you, so send me your requests and I’ll try to accommodate you. If possible, try to stick to the time and day of your regular activities here just to avoid a pile-up.

 

For now, I have scheduled a meet with our craft group on Tuesday, April 7th at 1pm and art studio time with our painters on Wednesday, April 8th at 1pm.  Wish me luck – I think this could be a game changer for our mental health as we stay safe at home in the coming weeks. Continue to reach out to your friends who are not computer literate because the phone calls really mean a lot.

 

I am here to help you out if you want to order from O’Reilly’s but aren’t comfortable on the computer or don’t have internet at home. Call me at 613-925-5300 and I will happily enter your order. You just need to go to the store at the pre-arranged time and you can even have your groceries delivered to your trunk which helps protect both you and their amazing staff.

 

I have no card scores to post obviously but my husband has been playing euchre over the computer and the big winner there is our nephew Brendan. Chris unfortunately claims the booby prize for himself. Clearly, the student has surpassed his master!

How is everyone making out? I hope you are well and settling into this new routine. I for one am so grateful that our weather is warming up and we live in a less crowded part of the world so we are able to get out into the fresh air. My dog has never been so happy; this is her dream come true! Three of her people are home with her every day and we are enjoying lots of walks by the river J

I am exploring Zoom,  a group chat program that will allow us to come together at our computers and I hope to have an email soon with instructions for you so that we can gather for some of our regular activities so please stay tuned for that. In the meantime, here is our column from the South Grenville Journal this week. Please note that they are making their digital version free if you go to their website. How wonderful is that?

 

March 25 Please and Thank You 

 

With the obvious exception of “sorry” are there many more words that are more Canadian than these? We are a country and a people known internationally as being generous, gracious, polite, and kind. Although we are frightened and insecure at the moment and sometimes that shows as rudeness, panic, or aggression, we are still doing a fantastic job and keeping the status quo. As I try to distill my thoughts into something cohesive for my column this week, I kept circling back to Please and Thank You. 

First of all, Thank You: To all our members who have reached out to me and to others to check in and make sure that we are all ok and ensure that despite the fact that we are isolated from each other, we are not alone. Thank you to members who have offered to pick up groceries or prescriptions for others who can’t. Thank you to everyone in our community who is taking the care to practise social distancing to protect our neighbours. The outpouring of kindness fills me up and helps keep worry at bay. 

Please reach out with your needs because I have names of people who are able and more than willing to help. Please know that I am at Walker House every day so if you can’t connect with me on Facebook or by email, call me at 613-925-5300. Please continue to encourage and support each other. At a time when we may feel helpless, this is our super power: we have a big impact with every small act of kindness.

If we stay the course, if we stay at home, if we stay positive, if we keep connected, and if we keep our distance on our daily walks we will come through this stronger when it ends.

I have shared this on Facebook, but for all of our members who are cut off from the internet with the closing of public buildings or who don’t use it, here is one of the many messages of hope being shared. God Bless.

 

And The People Stayed at Home

By Kitty O’Meara

 

And the people stayed home. And read books, and listened, and rested, and exercised, and made art, and played games, and learned new ways of being, and were still. And listened more deeply. Some meditated, some prayed, some danced. Some met their shadows. And the people began to think differently.

And the people healed. And, in the absence of people living in ignorant, dangerous, mindless, and heartless ways, the earth began to heal.

And when the danger passed, and the people joined together again, they grieved their losses, and made new choices, and dreamed new images, and created new ways to live and heal the earth fully, as they had been healed.

 

Hello my friends, 

I am struggling a bit with the lack of contact with all of you as we stay safe at home and I’d like to know how Walker House might be able to help us all through the coming weeks. At present, Walker House and all town buildings remain closed until April 6th for everyone’s safety and loneliness and depression are real concerns for all of us. I am fortunate to have company in my isolation, but not everyone does. If you read my column or already follow us on Facebook then you know that I am posting every day with lighthearted messages and I hope you post comments along and we can stay connected that way. I am trying to avoid negativity there and strongly feel it should be a safe space for us.

I know though that many of our members are not active on social media, so phone calls are a great way to touch base. I am proposing two things: if you know of someone who is alone and might enjoy a phone call, please reply just to me and let me know. If you have a friend from Walker House that you would like to reach out to and you don’t have their number, then also please reach out to me and I can get it for you. I have received word that the Quinte Woodcarvers Show has been cancelled which will mean the cancelation of our trip to Belleville but nothing  yet from Mirvish about our May to trip to “Hamilton”.

Although I am isolating myself, I’m still working so don’t hesitate to contact me if you need a hand or just want to chat. I will keep you informed along the way as things change and I’ll be keeping you in my thoughts until I see you again.

 

March 18 -- We are isolating, but we are not alone. 

 

What a difference a week makes. I’m sure many of you are struggling like me to keep up with the changes happening and feeling overwhelmed with the barrage of news coming at us from all sides. Many of it seems to contradict itself especially on social media where people share articles without checking the dates or the sources so that even posts from credible sources can have outdated information. In fact, I am writing this on Monday so by the time you read it in Wednesday’s paper things will have changed so please follow Walker House on facebook and also the Town of Prescott’s official page because we will keep you updated. I’m proud that the town acted pro-actively on Friday to suspend all recreation programming and close down public buildings and this afternoon the province has made the same mandate for all of Ontario. Social Distancing seems to be the order of the day but I want to remind us all to reach out to other members if you need support and company. Touch base through our facebook page and tell us what hobby you are catching up on. Spoiler alert - I will be posting a pair of mittens I finally finished!! If you are computer savvy, there are many museums offering online tours, operas and concerts playing for free to help us pass the time. No technology is needed to pick up the phone and meet a friend for a walk in the sun (at arm’s length of course).

Another new term that I have heard many times recently is “with an abundance of caution” used by many companies as they go public with their measures to minimize the impact of this pandemic. I am 100% behind this sentiment and plan to stay cautious and do everything I can to protect my friends and I hope we get through this with a smile on our faces. I wrote years ago that one of the greatest gifts of a tight knit community like Walker House is that our celebrations are twice as joyous when we share them and our burdens half as heavy. So share your worries, focus on the positive actions of your neighbours and the supportive people around you. Be cautious, but be brave and keep connected. I will do the same.

 

 

March 2 - Air Dry Clay and Age-Friendly Communities are hot topics in early March

All are welcome to attend Words of Wisdom, Monday the 2nd of March at 10am. This event is sponsored for us each month by Alzheimers Lanark Leeds Grenville, but it is free and open to anyone who is interested in the presentation. The topic is building an Dementia Friendly Community. Come and find out what that might mean for Prescott.  Also a reminder that our new day for Parkinson’s Support is the first Wednesday of each month at 10am. The group is designed to be of value to both patients and caregivers with a variety of interesting speakers and is also open to anyone in the community.

We saw February out with some great activities and March brings a new teacher from the college; MiSun Kim-Hunter. She’ll be teaching  us how to create a piece of art using air dry clay on Friday, March 6th at 9:30 and then following up on Friday, March 13th at 9:30 to paint our finished pieces. Because this is funded by special grant money, it is only $10 to participate and you must be a member to take part. 

We will be holding our board of management meeting on Thursday the 5th at 1pm and always welcome any member who might like to observe. Please let me know if you have an item to bring to the agenda or if you’d like to review any of our minutes.

I know many lucky members join me in thanking Yvette Perrin from Olde Thymes for the wonderful sign painting workshops she delivered -she helped us all through our different projects with such patience and style that we breezed through them! Our quilting and rug hooking workshops continue along this month under Pat and Laura’s expert guidance and Jacqui’s texture painters had great fun exploring that medium as well and only blew a couple of fuses with their hair dryers! This week is a Hoops and Hooks day so there is no silhouette workshop with Laura, but she is available for consultation at the hook-in on Wednesday morning.

As I report the card results for last week I want to give our thanks to Brian Milne who has been the euchre coordinator for the past few years. He’s done a fantastic job and it’s much appreciated. By coincidence I had bread pudding on his last day to reward the players for trekking upstairs so that we could use the main floor room for our Caregiver’s Art Therapy event. (can we call that a good news/bad news kind of an afternoon for the players?) I will ensure that we are open for you this week and trust that one of the players can pick up the torch. Here are your results:

Monday Bridge: 1st-Gery LeClair, 2nd- Ron Harvie, 3rd- Joan Salmon. 

Saturday Bridge: 1st-Cay Brown, 2nd- Joanne Walsh.

Euchre: 1st- Sue Boucher, 2nd- Jean McCready, 3rd- Findlay Hill, consolation- Janet Dunn.

 

January 11 - Changing Times

Happy New Year everyone! As you are no doubt aware, the Prescott Journal is on hiatus for a couple of weeks as they deal with a period of transition. In the meantime, may I suggest that you like and follow our page on Facebook? It’s the best way for me to get information out to members quickly. Its also a place where you can share your events that may be of interest to other members . You can keep an eye out for us to appear in Uncle Bucks every few weeks and also to be returning to (what I understand is to be called) the new South Grenville Journal with my weekly column.

Here are some events and dates to be aware of in the mean time:

-If you have signed up for our day trip to see “Hamilton” performed in Toronto in May please come in with your payment to hold your seat. This trip is open to anyone who wants to join us; membership is not required. Here are the details if you’d like to come. We depart Walker House at 7:15am on May13th and will have a pick up  at Food Basic in Brockville if you prefer. We have excellent seats in the centre mezzanine for the 1:30 performance at the Ed Mirvish theatre and should arrive in plenty of time to have lunch at your choice of the many restaurants in the neighbourhood (you  have choices from Burger King to sushi so there is something for everyone’s taste and budget) We board our coach after the performance to head home with a dinner stop along the way. Tickets for the coach and theatre are just $230.

 

-Our AGM and member’s appreciation lunch is on January 31st at 11:30 for the low, low price of $5. This is a great chance to get to know your volunteer board and show your appreciation for their efforts.

 

-We also have a special dinner party planned for Tuesday, January 28th at 5 to celebrate Chinese New Year. This holiday is more accurately known as Lunar New Year because it is celebrated in Chinese communities around the world but also in Korea, Vietnam, Singapore and many other Asian countries. Sign up if you can so I know how many tables to set and we will gather to share in a pot luck feast. You are welcome to bring souvenirs, decorations, stories, and fun facts about this special celebration to share along with your Asian dish of choice.

 

Monday morning will be the first of two Art Therapy Sessions thanks to the generous support of the Ontario Seniors Secretariat.

 

When we are caring for a loved one with a chronic degenerative illness it is often very difficult to take time to also care for ourselves because respite care is limited. This special program offers caregivers a chance to engage in art therapy with others who understand their challenges while at the same time their loved ones are engaged in art therapy designed for their abilities. Caregiver can relax and enjoy their time knowing that their loved one is safely enjoying a similar experience.

 

All the caregiver sessions will take place at Walker House with the client sessions taking place next door at the health centre community room. We will gather at Walker House for a meal and social time after our sessions are complete. You are welcome to sign up for one or both sessions and there is no charge to participate.

 

To register or for more information, please contact Susan Vallom at Walker House at 613-925-5300 or by email atwalkerhouse@prescott.ca.

Session number one starts at 10am on Monday January 13th with a snow date of Monday, January 20th. We will gather for lunch at noon before we depart for home. 

Session number 2 takes place on Thursday, February 20th at 12:30 and we will gather for afternoon tea at 2:30.

 

All the art therapy is being delivered by Ottawa Art Therapy.

Take care, stay warm and safe and I will be in touch again next week!

December 30 - Caring for our Caregivers 

 

I’m so pleased to be offering a very special opportunity to our caregivers thanks to the generous support of the Ontario Seniors Secretariat.

When we are caring for a loved one with a chronic degenerative illness it is often very difficult to take time to also care for ourselves because respite care is limited. This special program offers caregivers in our region a chance to engage in art therapy with their peers while at the same time their loved ones are engaged in art therapy designed for their abilities. Caregivers will be able to relax and enjoy their time knowing that their loved one is safely enjoying a similar experience.

All the caregiver sessions will take place in the main room at Walker House with a focus on self-care and resiliency exploration through the creative process. For their partners, the session will focus on connection, sensory engagement and self-expression through art and take place next door at the health centre community room. Both groups will gather at Walker House for a meal and social time after our sessions are complete. Anyone in our community is welcome to sign up for one or both sessions; membership is not required and there is no charge to participate.

To register or for more information, please contact Susan Vallom at Walker House at 613-925-5300 or by email at walkerhouse@prescott.ca.

Session number one starts at 10am on Monday January 13th with a snow date of Monday, January 20th. We will gather for lunch at noon before we depart for home. Session number 2 takes place on Thursday, February 20th at 12:30 and we will gather for afternoon tea at 2:30. The workshops are being delivered by Ottawa Art Therapy.

Dates to mark on your calendar in January include Tuesday, January 28th at 5pm. We are going to celebrate Lunar New Year (often known as Chinese New Year) with our version of a supper club. Our “dinner diversion” will include pot luck with our favourite Asian cuisine and I invite everyone to bring stories, photos, souvenirs, and fun facts to share about Asia while we eat. Sign up please so I know how many tables to set and please feel welcome to bring a guest.

Friday, January 31st at 11:30 we have our AGM and will be offering our lunch at a special rate of $5 to thank all of our wonderful members who make Walker House the very best place to be!

Happy New Year Everyone!

October 12 - Hamilton – not just a city near Toronto!

 

Thanksgiving is right around the corner so just a reminder that I will not be in the office on Monday and there won’t be Grow Young Fitness that morning but as I write this I have not heard that bridge will be cancelled so check with Mona this week to be sure, but most likely there will be cards happening. I hope you all enjoy the holiday,  that your turkey is moist, your pumpkin pie is perfectly spiced, and that you have lots to be thankful for! We are thankful for Mayfield who provided the delicious cake for our fall favourites lunch at the end of September. I had a lot to report last week and did not get to mention it in my column, but there was not a crumb left!

I had to laugh last week after I mentioned our trip to “Hamilton” in my column. I either had people questioning why we were so excited to go there or musical theatre fans calling just thrilled that we got tickets and signing up before I even had final details for you! I’ve looked at all the options near the Ed Mirvish theatre for lunch and I’ve decided not to include one. Within steps of the theatre there is a Tim Horton’s, Burger King, Popeye’s Chicken, and pizza, sushi, and pubs, and so on, so I will be leaving the choice up to each individual to venture as far as they are comfortable and to spend what they wish on lunch (or indeed to pack one and bring it along on the bus) so here then, are the details so you can sign up!

On Wednesday, May 13th 2020 we have centre mezzanine tickets for the matinee and the cost including the coach ride is just $230. In order to be sure none of our members are disappointed, I am keeping ticket sales to members only until November. I will hold seats for your friends who are not members, but I won’t guarantee their spot until then. The coach will be picking up at Walker House at 7:15 with a pick up in Brockville at Food Basics and then on to Toronto. We will have a quick stop on the way for coffee and a dinner break on the return trip home. Contact me (613-925-5300, walkerhouse@prescott.ca) or sign up in house on our member’s board.

Here are this week’s card scores:

Euchre: 1st-Suzanne, 2nd- Alice, 3rd- Lise, consolation: Janet.

Saturday Bridge: 1st-Carole Rafuse, 2nd- Cay Brown.

Monday Bridge: 1st- Ron Harvie, 2nd- Joanne Walsh, 3rd- Carole Rafuse.

 

MosaiCanada 150 Topiary Exhibit

Here is the chair from our chair workshop, with members Rosemary and Steven enjoying their creations.