Berwick Parksville officially open!

Berwick Parksville officially opened its doors yesterday! What a day for a celebration. Thank you to our incredible construction team, Denford Construction, and our wonderfully enthusiastic and supportive Parksville team of employees and residents. This is going to be a one-of-a-kind thriving resort-style community! Over 60% leased and we are preparing to open our doors to scheduled tours starting next Tuesday!
Visit our Facebook Page or Instagram accounts to see photos and videos from the ribbon-cutting ceremony.

News & Press
Berwick is the Proud Presenting Sponsor of the 55+ BC Games!

The board of the Victoria 55+ BC Games is proud to announce Berwick Retirement Communities as presenting sponsor of the 2022 games, taking place in the capital region September 13 to 17.

Berwick’s commitment to creating active, inspired lifestyles for seniors complements the mission of the Games, which celebrate healthy adults 55+ years of age through fun and competitive sport and recreation activities.

“The power of sport is an engaging but powerful force that unites, heals and improves our health at all ages in our lives,” said Berwick’s CEO, Amir Hemani. “The drive at Berwick to harness an active aging lifestyle for the seniors living with us makes our involvement with the 55+ BC Games a perfect fit. The spirit of volunteerism will continue to foster community while supportive but fierce competition will bring out the drive in all participants. We are beyond excited to see the Games begin!”

Several Berwick residents are former competitors and volunteers at the 55+ BC Games. Among them are Joan Tebbutt of Berwick Comox Valley, who participated in golf; Kathleen Lamb, also of Berwick Comox Valley, who participated in race walking; and Lois Smith of Berwick Qualicum Beach, who medalled in swimming. All three former competitors are available for media interviews upon request.

“Along with camaraderie and healthy lifestyles, the Games celebrate community,” said Victoria Games board president Michael O’Connor, founding partner at McConnan Bion O’Connor and Peterson law firm. “Berwick’s commitment to community helps set the tone of the Games: after two years of restricted social interactions, this event will be one where people from across the province unite to socialize, reconnect, and engage, all in the name of active living.”

More than 4,000 participants, 1,500 volunteers and thousands of spectators from around B.C. will travel to the capital region to participate in sport and community building during the 2022 Games. They will feature 30 sports and activities including curling, triathlon, mountain biking, bocce, cribbage, and bridge.

It’s the first time Greater Victoria has hosted the 55+ BC Games in the event’s 36-year history, and it’s the first major multi-sport event the capital city is hosting since the 1997 North American Indigenous Games.


News & Press
“I can’t wait to move into the new Berwick Parksville” – A letter from a future Resident


If you had told me two years ago, I would be beyond excited about moving into the new Berwick Parksville, I would not have believed you. As we all know, the world we know changed two years ago and I went from chairing the Events Committee for Newcomers to nothing. I was due to graduate in April 2020 and had various activities lined up, but Covid decided otherwise. I love the people in my bubble and my cat is great company, but not the best conversationalist! As a single person, I grew tired of cooking for myself and suddenly, perhaps Berwick would be the way to go.
I was intrigued by the idea of living somewhere brand new, as I have never experienced that and to be able to have company, activities, and good food I don’t have to prepare or clean up after…. maybe why I like cruising so much?

Just to be sure, I checked out a couple of places in Nanaimo but really want to stay in this area where friends and any professionals are, plus everything is walking distance or there is the option of the Berwick Town Car. I also noticed that most of the residents in Nanaimo were quite a bit older and the age demographic was one of the first of many questions I had for Corinna. Did you know that the average age for Berwick Parksville is mid to late 70’s? I loved the fact that this is a family-owned company and soon discovered the attention to detail that is a Berwick signature.

One of the first community events that I attended, organized by Corinna, was Art in the Park, here in Parksville with assistance from other Berwick location staff and volunteers from the Oceanside Community Arts Council. Having been a marketer and event planner, I always notice little details, and nothing is overlooked with their hospitality and how the event was run, making us all feel really welcome. I have since attended some of the seminars offered and finally, after waiting forever it seemed (I have little patience!), this week, we put down our deposit, gained our suite number and can see driving by a sign saying I am rented (if you have requested Jensen).

I have taken friends to see the show suite…. please check it out if you haven’t already….and they too are more than impressed by the size of the rooms, décor and again, that attention to detail. Having seen some of the sample menus, I can see myself entertaining my current friends. As an avid arts supporter, I love that there is a theatre and art space, as well as the sporting activities outside plus gym with different classes, all in house! I can’t wait to try it all, even things I haven’t done before.

I hope to be an ambassador to help welcome other new residents as they move in, will I see you there?

Christine Neeter, Future Berwick Parksville Resident

News & Press

Berwick Retirement Communities would like to take this opportunity to congratulate Laurel Wright, Active Living Manager and her team at Berwick Qualicum on the outstanding achievement of winning the ICAA NuStep Beacon Award.

This coveted award recognizes the top 25 “Best in Wellness” Senior Living Communities in North America and was jointly created by the International Council on Active Living and NuStep LLC.

Through lots of dedication and hard work, Berwick Qualicum Beach’s active living team has been recognized for successfully fostering a wellness centered environment to benefit all who live and work in their community.

Beyond simply classes or programs, the Berwick active living team recognizes the 7 key dimensions of wellness and focuses on each to improve the quality of life for all of their residents.

When asked why they are so successful in their wellness programming, here is what Active Living Manager, Laurel, had to say:
“As a Beacon Award winner, Berwick Qualicum Beach is helping to lead the way in active living for seniors and we will continue to strive to make all of our Berwick retirement communities the place for our residents to live their best life!

News & Press
Berwick during the Holidays!

‘Tis the season to be merry! For most people, Christmas represents a time of family, friends and cheer. But unfortunately for some others, especially those living on their own and away from family, Christmas can be one of the loneliest times of the year. Instead of creating new and fun memories, some isolated people are left to remember Christmases past.

Rose Deck, one of our Berwick residents, is busy decking the halls for the season with her highly coveted crocheted tree decorations.

“I’m involved in almost everything; shuffleboard, yoga, boot camp, line dancing, carpet bowling…a group of us learned to do ballet dancing. There’s something going on all the time.”

Rose and her husband researched a number of retirement communities in the area a few years ago and had their names down at Berwick. Then, unfortunately, Rose’s husband passed away and the pandemic hit and Rose had to move into Berwick on her own.

“It was the best thing I ever did. It relieved me of a lot of stress back home, and sad memories,’ she says. “I quarantined at first, but they treated me very well. They brought goodies to the door every day and everybody on staff made a point to come check on me. I called it heaven.”

Berwick offers an instant community to seniors who are feeling isolated and alone. With daily opportunities to socialize and plenty of special events to make new memories, we see our residents thrive amid new friendships and exciting new opportunities.

“Christmas here last year, that just blew my mind! I’ve never had so much fun, they thought of almost everything,” Rose remembers.

At Berwick we strive to make everyone feel like family. Staff and residents alike form bonds that make life at our retirement communities truly magical.

After a year of travel restrictions, in December of 2020, one of our Berwick site’s staff organized an imaginary flight to Hawaii. Staff dressed as flight attendants, checked diners’ passports, announced safety instructions and even passed out peanuts and pretzels with a pre-dinner cocktail. Then they disappeared and came back dressed in tropical clothes during the main course and, finally, after one more costume change, returned as reindeer pulling a sleigh.

“The staff put on a skit every year. It’s not exactly professional entertainment, but it’s a lot of fun!” says Community Relations Manager, Jolene Shaw. “There’s a lot of stress and anxiety in the world, and in our little corner of the community, we try to spread joy.”

According to Rose, “It’s not an old folks’ home, it’s just like a resort.”

Of course there’s no obligation to clock in at Santa’s Workshop, dress up like a reindeer or haul out the holly, but the residents and staff of Berwick pull together an impressive variety of events for anyone feeling even a little bit festive.

There are plenty of fun activities for those who enjoy getting into the Christmas spirit from making special Christmas cards and decorations to Christmas entertainment including music and skits. Each Berwick location has its own special traditions including an “Elf on the Shelf” hide and seek each day to special baking classes and demonstrations.

And the fun doesn’t end at Christmas. At Berwick residents are continually learning new things, going new places and forming new and long lasting friendships. The benefits to living in a community with like- minded people, surrounded by staff who truly care and treat you like family, are endless.

From our family to yours, we wish you all a very healthy, happy and safe holiday season!

News & Press
Welbi’s Monthly Hero – Berwick’s Jacqueline Siemens !

So proud to share such a fantastic feature on our very own team member, Jacqueline! 

Meet Jacqueline, Active Living Manager at Berwick on the Park

Camping, hiking, snowboarding, and exploring — these are just some of the ways that Jacqueline Siemens, active living manager at Berwick on the Park, loves to spend her time. Berwick on the Park is located in beautiful Kamloops B.C., which makes it ideal for Jacqueline as a lover of the outdoors. She tells us that “Kamloops is perfectly situated for adventure.”

It was the spirit of adventure that called Jacqueline to Berwick on the Park. She was intrigued by the recreation therapy program offered at Saskatchewan Polytechnic in Saskatoon and decided to pursue a diploma.

“As soon as I got into the program, I loved it,” she says.

Jacqueline tells us she needed a senior living community to host her practicum and chose Berwick because she had a friend living in Kamloops at the time. “I thought it would be exciting to spend 8 weeks in the mountains and go back home at the end.” 

But things didn’t quite go as planned. “One thing led to another, and four years later I’m still here. Everything’s clicked into place for me and I couldn’t be happier.”

The Rewards and Challenges of an Exciting Profession

As an active living manager, Jacqueline spends most of her time coming up with programs and preparing everything that’s needed to run them. She’s supported by team members Janet and Paula, both industry veterans. Their role is on the facilitating side. While Jacqueline says her strengths are navigating and troubleshooting, she enjoys facilitating programs when she has the opportunity. “It gets me outside those planning and brainstorming boxes that I sometimes get pigeon-holed in.”

Jacqueline’s favourite thing about her career is that monotony is not a word in her vocabulary. “Every day is different. It could do a 180 and before you know it, you’re going in a completely different direction. It keeps you engaged so there’s no mental checkout.” 

She says that adapting to change is one of the most challenging parts of working in recreation. But change isn’t always a bad thing, she adds. She tells us about a recent surprise visit the Berwick team received. “We had one of the florists in town pop in last week to donate six bouquets to the building.” Jacqueline says taking the time to thank them and get some photos was well worth the change in her plans. “And who doesn’t love getting flowers?”

Jacqueline shares her best advice for staying flexible when programs don’t go as planned, which she received from her General Manager Bev. “If you don’t share every detail of what a program is supposed to look like, no one will know the difference. As long as everyone enjoyed themselves, that’s a success.”

Rockstar of the COVID-19 Pandemic

Perhaps the greatest test of Jacqueline’s adaptability came with the COVID-19 pandemic, but it’s one she passed with flying colours. Jacqueline has been called a “total rockstar” at overcoming the challenges of the pandemic, which she says was a team effort. “Again, Janet and Paula with their creativity, they came through with some really great ideas.” 

Jacqueline says that if there’s a silver lining to be found in the pandemic, it’s that it helped the active living team get out of their comfort zone and try new things. “We pretty much had to break down our activity calendar and rebuild it. But I find the residents have been very receptive to it.”

With dance parties, hallway sing-alongs, crafts, and puzzles, the team ensured the residents at Berwick stayed active and engaged throughout the pandemic. And they made sure to take care of themselves, too. “We were very aware of burnout and making sure we’re not overextending ourselves. We were trying to provide the best service we could give while taking care of ourselves and making sure we’re there to provide that service.”

Every Day is an Adventure at Berwick on the Park

As the world slowly returns to normal, Jacqueline is excited to get back outside with her residents. The community is situated with Peterson Creek Nature Park right in its backyard and offers a gorgeous view of the valley. Jacqueline takes advantage of the scenery when planning her activity calendars with outdoor games, picnics, scenic drives, and day trips. 

Special outings have given Jacqueline some of her favourite memories on the job. She tells us about the time she and Bev took some of their residents on a road trip to Nanaimo for an island-wide picnic with the other Berwick sites. “I drove the bus from Kamloops to Nanaimo and we overnighted. It was a blast! It was such a fun time with such a great group of people.”

Berwick on the Park also hosts exciting events of its own, like the Berwick Rib Festival. Staff come up with their own barbecue sauce recipes, which are then made by the kitchen. Residents vote on their favourite sauce to choose the Rib Fest winner.

More recently, Berwick has been hosting its own 2021 Summer Olympics, which Jacqueline says was Paula’s idea. “We’ve just been doing our regular programming but we’re putting an Olympic twist on it. It’s been a huge success!”

Jacqueline explains that each floor is its own team. To encourage attendance, teams are awarded points when their members actively participate in programs. Jacqueline says there’s been some friendly competition. Floors have made their own team names, uniforms, and even banners.

Berwick on the Park has since held their awards ceremony. Congratulations to all the participants!

Creating Exceptional Resident Experiences With Welbi

The amazing experiences that Jacqueline creates for her residents are exactly what we strive to facilitate with Welbi! We asked Jacqueline to share how Welbi has changed her operations. “I actually can’t even remember what it was like using anything else other than Welbi,” she says. “It’s become such an integral part of my day!”

Berwick on the Park launched Welbi in October 2020. Before then, Jacqueline and her team were creating their calendars in Microsoft Publisher. Jacqueline says “the margin for error was actually quite big” with Publisher, so she appreciates the ease of Welbi’s calendar customization. “It’s fantastic being able to create multiple calendars at once and knowing that, if we wanted to transfer what we put on one calendar to the next, we can do that just by clicking a few buttons. Now that I know how to do it, it’s just lickety-split!”

Jacqueline also enjoys how Welbi’s insights help her set and achieve goals. “Being able to see real-time insights is really nice because we have metrics from head office that we have to strive to achieve,” Jacqueline explains. “We can see in real-time if there’s an area where we’re missing something that we can supplement in.”

We asked Jacqueline what she would tell someone who’s considering using Welbi. “A hundred percent, do it! I know the growing pains sometimes feel like a lot but just persevere through it. The team that Welbi has for support is amazing. They’re quick with responding and so open to feedback. When we were giving our feedback when first launching Welbi with Berwick, they were so open to accommodating some of our wild requests. This company hears us. It’s been fantastic. The team at Welbi is awesome, and the program has come to be part of our daily work life.” We love to hear feedback like this from our users. Thank you, Jacqueline!

Achievement Doesn’t Stop With Age

To close our interview, we asked Jacqueline what she wants the world to know about recreation. “It’s a really rewarding career path,” she says. “If you want to put a lot of hard work into it, you’ll get great things out of it. You work hard, play hard as recreation.” 

She adds that many people think that recreation is all fun and games — and there is a lot of that — but that doesn’t mean it’s not important. “Everyone has a form of recreation; you need it for that balance. Without it, I feel like our lives just wouldn’t be complete. Recreation as a profession is needed.”

We asked Jacqueline how she thinks society’s view of retirement differs from what she’s seen at Berwick. “I feel like there’s this misconception with retirement in general that once you reach a certain age, you slow down and your age limits the things that are available to you.”

Every day, the residents and staff at Berwick prove this stereotype about older adults false. The active living team is committed to empowering residents to pursue their goals and keep having exciting experiences as they age.

“Programs can be adapted to meet individuals where they’re at,” Jacqueline explains. “Just because you might have done something one way doesn’t mean that you can’t still do it, we just need to adapt it to make it work for you. There’s nothing that I’ve come across yet that would be too far out there. It’s just a matter of doing the legwork to figure out how to make it work.”

News & Press
What Can Be Gained from Downsizing!

Are your closets overflowing?  Is the garage or basement full of things you rarely use?

Summer is a great time to rid ourselves of excess we have accumulated and start downsizing.  Why not pass these items on to be repurposed or have a garage sale?

Getting started is often the hard part.  Jaclynn Soet of The Happy Nest, a professional downsizing and relocation company says, “The first step is to create a clear plan.”  Soet’s top tips include:

  • If you are planning to relocate to a smaller footprint, decluttering can begin any time. In fact, sooner the better! Our number one tip for downsizing is to leave yourself plenty of time to make thoughtful decisions.
  • It’s important to postpone dealing with decision making of items that have high sentimental value until you have worked your way up to these items. Start with are items you haven’t used in a while and are generally found in storage areas of the home.
  • Be realistic about the value of items in your home. If you are a homeowner, your home is likely your largest asset.  Focus on helping the home appeal to the greatest number of buyers. This starts with depersonalizing so buyers can envision themselves in the space.
  • Many household items are difficult to sell or donate. Give these items away when possible to prevent them from entering the landfill and incurring unnecessary junk removal costs.
  • Purchase scale appropriate furniture for your new space. If it’s dual purpose – even better!

There is a lot to be said for lightening your load and ridding yourself of excess.  Community Relations Manager at Berwick Royal Oak, Kathy McAree, has been through the downsizing process herself.  After 20 years living in a three level townhouse with a jam-packed garage, she downsized to less than 600 square feet.  “I had accumulated so much and realized that I wasn’t using or didn’t need a great deal of it.  However, the paring down process was arduous.  Memories and attachment to many things made taking action rather difficult.  Of the things that I did convince myself to part with, I often found that there was little value in them to others.  After a trip to the dump, two garage sales and many internet ads, I still had too much to move and I was tired and frustrated.  I wish I’d known about downsizing companies at the time!”

Downsizers can do as little or as much as you would like them to.  If you’re planning a move, you can count on skilled professionals to help you decide what to take, create floor plan options for your new space, hire and manage movers, stage your home to make it ready for sale, and look after all the things you no longer need.

Don and Bobbi Johannessen, who recently moved to Berwick Royal Oak, say, “Leaving our 6000 square foot home we had lived in for 34 years was made easy using a downsizer.  The Happy Nest simplified everything.  They organized, packed, and unpacked so that everything was already in place when we moved in.  Even the packing material and boxes had been taken away.  Our bed was made and clothes were hung.  There was no stress for us at all and their assistance was well worth the price.”

Linda Lord, Community Relations Manager at Berwick House, adds, “Our residents love moving into a suite that is already set up and organized.  On their very first day, they feel like they’ve been living here for ages.  Using a downsizing company provides great comfort and takes much of the stress of moving away.  I would highly recommend it.”

News & Press
Successful Curious About Berwick Parksville Event!
We had such a successful Curious About Berwick Parksville event at the Bayside Resort Parksville yesterday. There was so much information shared and lots of excitement for those looking to call Berwick Parksville home in 2022! 
Berwick Parksville will offer a luxurious resort-style independent lifestyle set against the majestic beach backdrop of our stunning west coast. The state-of-the-art amenities will help you to live active longer and you’ll enjoy the complete freedom that independent living offers with the confidence and support of the Berwick legacy behind you. Here’s a little sneak preview of this extraordinary community!
For more information, please visit or email us to register for our next event in August:
Visit our Facebook page to see more photos: 
News & Press
Tip For Staying Cool in a Heat Wave!

Although some cities have had some relief from the extreme temperatures we experienced over the last week, we are still in a heatwave. BC has reported 65 deaths from the heatwave since Friday of last week on the lower mainland alone.

Besides indulging in copious amounts of ice cream to keep yourselves chilled… below are some great tips on how to stay cool as well as links and resources.

When temperatures rise during the summer, it’s important to know the risks associated with excessive heat and take precautions to stay safe and healthy. Be aware of the symptoms of heat-related illness, check on those at greater risk during extreme and prolonged periods of heat, and follow the tips below to avoid heat exhaustion or heat stroke – while also keeping our communities COVID-19 safe<>.

Symptoms of heat-related illness

The symptoms of heat-related illness can range from mild to severe. They include:

  *   Pale, cool, moist skin

  *   Heavy sweating

  *   Muscle cramps

  *   Rash

  *   Swelling, especially hands and feet

  *   Fatigue and weakness

  *   Lightheadedness and/or fainting

  *   Headache

  *   Nausea and/or vomiting

More severe symptoms – including high fever, hallucinations, seizures and unconsciousness – require urgent medical attention. Call 911, move to a cool place, and cool the person with water and fanning.

Check on each other

Anyone can suffer from heat-related illness – but some are at greater risk than others. Please make sure to check the following people regularly for signs of heat exhaustion or heat stroke:

  *   Infants and young children

  *   People aged 65 or older

  *   People with disabilities, cognitive or otherwise, who may need assistance in monitoring their well-being

  *   Those who require ongoing medication for conditions such as heart or breathing problems

  *   People who work or exercise outside

  *   Check in on those who live alone.

  *   During the COVID-19 pandemic, relatives, friends, and neighbours should check in regularly with vulnerable people by phone or video.

Stay hydrated

Drink more fluids regardless of your activity level. Don’t wait until you’re thirsty to drink. Avoid liquids that contain alcohol, caffeine or large amounts of sugar, as these are less helpful in keeping your body hydrated.

If you stay inside

If possible, stay in an air-conditioned place when you are indoors.

  *   Make your home as comfortable as possible.

  *   Close blinds and shutters during the daytime and open them at night. Open your windows at night to let in cooler air. If you have children in your home, make sure you’ve taken precautions to prevent falls from windows and balconies.

  *   If you have air conditioning, use it to take the edge off indoor heat — but don’t over-cool. Remember that circulation of fresh air is important for reducing COVID-19 risk.

  *   If you don’t have air-conditioning, take shelter in the coolest room in your home and use a fan. Blowing a fan across a pan of ice water can create a cool breeze.

  *   Electric fans may provide comfort, but when the temperature is above 37 degrees Celsius, fans will not prevent heat-related illness. Taking a cool shower or bath, or spending time in an air-conditioned place, is a much better way to cool off.

  *   Cool showers and misting yourself and your clothing with cool water will help keep you from overheating.

  *   Try visiting a public location such as a shopping mall or library – even a few hours spent in air conditioning can help your body stay cooler when you go back into the heat.

  *   Wear lightweight, light-coloured, loose-fitting clothing

If you go outside

  *   Seek cooler, breezier areas when outdoors, such as large parks near to water with lots of trees.

  *   Avoid crowded spaces and maintain a two-metre distance from others as much as possible.

  *   Avoid strenuous outdoor activities during peak hours (10 a.m. to 4 p.m.).

  *   Take it slow with outdoor activities – try to rest often in shaded areas.

  *   Consider your neighbours: be respectful of pets and humans that need to rest/rehydrate in the shade at new locations temporarily.

  *   Be sun-safe and remember to protect yourself from the heat:

     *   Apply sunscreen to exposed skin, early and often, at least 15 to 30 minutes prior to going out. Minimum Sun Protection Factor (SPF) should be 30. Use it liberally and make sure to reapply often throughout the day, especially following swimming or heavy perspiration.

     *   Seek shade and keep skin covered as much as possible when spending time in the sun. The sun can burn and damage skin even on a cloudy day.

     *   Wear a hat with a wide brim.

     *   Children are more vulnerable to sun damage and heatstroke, so ensure their skin is protected or that they are in the shade. Infants under six months old should wear a UVA/UVB protective suit if spending time outdoors.

     *   Wear sunglasses, especially when driving or cycling. Exposure to ultraviolet radiation (UV rays) can cause cataracts and other eye diseases.

  *   NEVER leave children or pets alone in a parked car. Temperatures can rise rapidly in enclosed vehicles, becoming much hotter than the outdoor temperature.

For more information on heat-related illness, visit HealthLinkBC<>, the Government of Canada’s extreme heat page<> or dial 811.


Warm weather safety in a time of COVID-19<> – BCCDC

Staying healthy in the heat<> – Government of Canada

Sun Protection<> – Island Health



News & Press
Berwick’s Community – An Interview with Realtor Deedrie Ballard!

Berwick Royal Oak’s Community Relations Manager, Kathy, talks with Victoria BC Realtor Deedrie Ballard about the current red hot real estate market and why now is the time to sell if you’re a senior and have been considering a move to independent living!

You’re an older adult and you’ve decided that now is the right time to sell and look at downsizing! What are some things to consider as you prepare your home to sell in today’s market? Why is it such a huge decision and how can you make this process a little less daunting as you get ready for this exciting new chapter in life? Deedrie shares tips, tricks, her own parent’s experience and their transition to Berwick House and more. 

Watch now: 


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