Room for reconnection in multipurpose space

Blanche Gau, a long-term resident of Youville Home in St. Albert, enjoys keeping active in the home’s redeveloped multipurpose space. She’s seen a lot of changes in the home over the years, but the addition of multipurpose space has been one of the most needed.

“I already can’t imagine life without it. It brings everyone more joy,” says Blanche.

Opened in July 2022, the expanded multipurpose space includes four areas — a main hall and therapy, volunteer and equipment rooms — on the main floor and in the basement. The 3,100 square feet of redeveloped space enables staff to engage more residents in indoor activities, therapeutic programs and social gatherings year-round. Residents can take part in therapies such as music and art and enjoy multigenerational concerts and parties, visiting musicians and artists, games nights and more with each other, their families and community members.

The expansion was made possible through fundraising by the Covenant Foundation. Through donations, calendar sales and gifts in-kind, it was able to raise more than $817,000 to fully fund the project. The calendars were made by residents like Blanche, who contributed photos of themselves in their past jobs and as characters from famous movies.

The new multipurpose room features a space for recreational and physical therapy.

“The new multipurpose space will give us the enhanced room we need for keeping our residents connected with our community,” says Cecilia Marion, former senior director of operations, Youville Home. “It allows for offering additional specialized activities and programs to better meet the physical, cognitive, spiritual, emotional and social needs of our residents.”

The recent addition is also making it a little bit easier for residents to connect with each other. “It’s given us a bigger and brighter space for activities like drumming, bingo and my favourite — Friday happy hour!” says Blanche. “We’re a social bunch, and now we can sit and talk each day with visitors from other units too.”

The residents also have more space to interact with children in the on-site Sigis Daycare program, which brings together the young and young at heart for community building and activities. 

Including as much natural light as possible was a design necessity for the space, and the new environment provides increased visibility to reduce the risk of falls. The space was also designed for greater accessibility, supporting residents and visitors with mobility aids such as wheelchairs and walkers.

Blanche sits in her room with family photos displayed on the wall behind her.

“[The space] is welcoming and bright. It makes you want to go enjoy it. We can reconnect with people and do activities. It’s wonderful!” says Blanche.

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