Six Benefits of Independent Living

When weighing your options for senior living, it is important to consider how much the senior living industry has grown. Over the past five years, senior housing has been driven to think outside the box with their services and amenities.

Take independent living as an example; it has become a retirement haven for seniors who want flexibility and peace of mind. It is designed for the independent senior with an active lifestyle who wants to simplify their worries of home maintenance, commuting, safety, social isolation, and health. From villas to apartments, we cover six of the most attractive benefits that British Columbia independent living communities offer.

Safety

One of the most common reasons older adults choose independent living is when safety at home becomes a risk. Independent living allows you to stay independent while offering measures and services to keep you healthy and safe. With the flexibility of choice, our sites have CPR-certified first responders available 24/7, pull cords in suites, safety pendants, and in-suite safety features.

Even the architecture and design of independent living communities are built to address sharp corners, wide doorways, and bolted furniture to ensure a low risk for home-related accidents. This blend of independence and well-being will not only simplify your life but the lives of your family members.

Convenience

Not only does independent living remove home maintenance, but it also provides additional everyday convenience. Depending on the home you choose, amenities can range from trash removal to transportation, to in-house hairdresser, or laundry services.

In addition, some communities have extra services such as dry cleaning, travel planning, deep cleaning, reservations, appointment administration, etc. Senior living in an independent living community is designed to streamline your life to give you the time to do the things you want to do. If you’re looking for free time to enjoy your retirement, consider independent living.

Socializing

Having the flexibility to follow your own schedule full of visits with friends and family is the best part of independent living. Having your own suite with all your neighbours right down the hall or eating dinner in the same dining venue offers the best of both worlds.

Whether you choose independent living as a chance to slow down, cut back on social commitments, make new friends, or make socializing more convenient, this level of senior living provides every opportunity.

Choice

Independent living bridges the gap between aging in place and assisted living. Over the years, industry experts, seniors, and caregivers have identified a gap where aging adults are not comfortable in their own homes and yet are too self-reliant for assisted living. This is where independent living communities have blossomed, allowing customized villas, creative cuisine, independent schedules, private parking, and flexible service programs.

Your home is your sacred place, and independent living ensures that you have the autonomy to decide the type of support or interaction you want.

Quality Food

With more information available at our fingertips, it can be overwhelming to decide the best way to use olive oil, whether fat is good for you, if you should cut salt out, or if grains are nutrient-dense. In independent living, it is the staff’s job to be fully educated in their field and provide you with the best food to increase your longevity.

The best part? It is also their job to make it taste amazing and clean up! No more getting down and dirty in the kitchen, because amazing chefs have you covered. If not, most suites have their own kitchen, providing you with the choice to make your meals or baked goods.

Still not interested? With such a flexible schedule, you can dine out where you want as most restaurants are accessible right outside your door.

Zero Maintenance

No more mowing the lawn, dealing with the leaky toilet, or your basement’s annual floods. Independent living communities are not only newer than your older home, but also have in-house maintenance workers, and landscapers to take care of it all for you. You simply give the front desk a call, and they will send someone trained to fix your drain or flooring. You can even have comfort when you’re out of the house, as most suites now have flooding sensors or motion sensors to detect burglaries. On top of it all, say goodbye to the hassle of hydro bills, dishes, vacuuming, or grocery shopping. These are all included in your rent by administrative staff, housekeeping, and chefs.

Time to start enjoying retirement and live the good life! If you are an active senior looking to get the most out of your retirement, we encourages you to learn more about our independent living.

Why Berwick remains a safe choice during COVID-19

It has been a challenging few months as COVID-19 continues to impact our world. With seniors being among the most vulnerable population, Berwick has been vigilant in implementing the necessary policies and procedures to ensure the safety and well being of residents and employees. With all the steps being taken to protect our residents, retirement living can actually help seniors and their families feel reassured during these times. Our communities provide both health and social supports. Even though there have been times where residents have had to isolate in their rooms, our residents are never alone. Our families have found comfort in knowing that their loved ones are safe, have supports in place to provide them with the necessities they may need and have access to staff 24/7. 

“My parents are so happy and it’s mostly due to all of you, who are working so hard to keep them and the community safe. It gives our family a valued peace of mind knowing they are happy, safe and feel secure.” Berwick Royal Oak Family Member 

As physical distancing protocols remain in place, we have heard from many seniors in our local communities who have started to consider independent living. Although long-term care homes have been gravely affected because of COVID outbreaks, our independent living communities have provided a safe and secure environment for our residents. Our homes are adaptive to whatever changes may come and the safety of our communities and our people is paramount. 

“There is no place else I would rather be, especially during these difficult times. I cannot find words to tell you all how grateful I am to the wonderful staff of Berwick for keeping me safe, well fed and in good spirits.” Berwick Comox Valley Resident 

Here are the reasons why living in an independent community is safe during these times: 

Industry Leading Policies & Procedures:
Our communities are mandated to have robust policies and protocols in place to protect our residents. Berwick has been going above and beyond the direction of our Provincial Health Minister, Dr. Bonnie Henry. No stone has been left unturned during this process. The moment we closed our doors to the public was the moment we began planning to reopen our doors. It is important to note that we have significant experience in managing outbreak scenarios and are constantly reevaluating our policies in place to ensure they are industry leading. Our communities are always prepared to respond to illness outbreaks and other emergencies. 

We have multiple layers of safety protocols and infrastructure in place to protect our seniors. Here is a list of the following safety measures in place across all Berwick Communities: 

  • Outbreak protocols in place at all Berwick Communities
  • 24 hour support and security
  • Enhanced and increased sanitization stations 
  • Staff Members are now required to wear masks when physical distancing is not a possibility
  • Physical distancing decals have been placed throughout the communities to encourage safe distancing 
  • Active pre-screening for every essential visitor who enters any of our Berwick communities 
  • Single point of entry at all Berwick communities 
  • Bistros retrofitted with plexi-glass protective barriers 
  • Only disposables will be used for room service
  • All delivery carts will be sanitized between meals
  • Activities limited to ensure social distancing parameters are met
  • Virtual activities increased and available 
  • Increased virtual visits available for residents and family members
  • Onsite Tuck Shop stocked with essentials so residents don’t have to continue to leave the building 

“Please know that having my Mom living at Berwick is a dream, and her face continues to light up whenever anyone asks “Do you still like living there?” Her thoughts are why on earth wouldn’t you?  So thank you so much for all that you do in helping my Mom and so many others get through these unprecedented times.” Berwick House Family Member 

Mental & Physical Health Monitoring 
Our staff regularly monitor residents for any signs of illness for their protection. Unlike a senior who is living alone who may have challenges in seeking medical attention, our staff are here to support our residents and act immediately should any concerns arise. Our residents and their family members can feel assured that we are here to support them 24 hours a day should they need it. We also check in daily with every one of our residents through door to door visits.

“Just a note of huge thanks to say you have our unconditional vote of gratitude for everything you are doing at Berwick! We didn’t want to wait until the virus threat is over to tell you how happy we are with the way you manage ALL day-to-day operations, ongoing. So happy to call Berwick our home!” Berwick on the Lake Resident

Nutritional Support
Berwick has been more than prepared to continue providing the same, delicious nutritional meals during COVID. Although the dining areas have been closed for some time now, our culinary teams have been increasingly creative with delivery and presentation to make sure residents are still being engaged and enjoying their meals. As we begin to open up our dining areas again, we have outfitted the spaces with protective plexi-glass barriers to ensure the protection of both staff and residents. Despite everything, meal times continue to be entertaining, delicious and engaging! 

“All is well. Berwick is doing a fantastic job in keeping us well-fed and safe. Very happy that we live here. Thanks to all!” Berwick Qualicum Beach Resident 

Staying Active & Engaged
Berwick’s Active Living departments have been run off their feet with new ideas and implementing new virtual activities. Balcony dance exercise classes, physical distancing dance competitions, virtual yoga, the list goes on. Physical distancing has not prevented us from keeping our spirits high at all of our communities through engaging, fun and social (modified) activities. 

In addition, our Active Living teams have set up multiple stations for social connectivity with the outside world. Whether it’s a family zoom call, resident meeting or virtual birthday party, we continue to do whatever we can to facilitate connection. For more information about all the wonderfully positive stories happening at our sites, feel free to watch our #KeepingOurSpiritsHigh Weekly Videos on YouTube here: https://www.youtube.com/channel/UC_nOBMhUQdu5OuUVh3D1gTA?view_as=subscriber

“Well done! Everyone at Berwick is doing a wonderful job during this difficult time! It’s great to know our loved ones are safe at Berwick!” Berwick on the Park Family Member 

Quarantine Support
Berwick’s communities are equipped for quarantine situations. Staff are there to support a resident if they require isolation in their suite during an outbreak, including delivering three meals a day, continuing to provide care services, laundry and cleaning of their suite, and most importantly comfort and reassurance that everything will be alright. For new residents moving in and having to be in isolation for 14-days, the same supports are available. We have increased staffing to ensure that all the needs of our residents are being met, safely. 

“Thank you so much for the wonderful, thoughtful and great care you are giving to your residents.  I, and my family, are so ‘thankful’. This is an extraordinary time of crisis, and to have a professional, dedicated team taking care of our loved ones, is a blessing.” Berwick Campbell River Family Member 

Day to Day Support
Seniors may not only have care needs, but require help with things like getting to appointments, grocery shopping and meal preparation, and even companionship. When isolated, these tasks can become increasingly overwhelming for seniors and family members, and add in a pandemic, the sheer magnitude of stress can be daunting. 

Berwick’s communities provide both health and social supports; even if there is physical isolation, seniors are never alone. Our families have been so relieved knowing that their loved ones have been so well cared for, especially during these unprecedented times. Our seniors don’t have to wait in the long line-ups, they don’t have to experience the stress surrounding going to grocery stores and risk having essentials unavailable or having to risk contracting the virus. Meals, housekeeping, transportation, 24-hour support, activities and connection are all taken care of. 

“These are challenging times and Berwick deserves kudos for all of their efforts and measures taken to keep us well and safe. Thank you to each and every one of you. You are all so wonderful and that helps brighten the days.” Berwick Qualicum Beach Resident

Regular updates on Berwick’s Response to COVID-19 are kept in our COVID-19 Updates section.

Keeping Our Spirits High Amid COVID-19

May 15, 2020

A message to all of our residents and families,

Happy Friday! It’s hard to fathom that summer is just around the corner, and we’re heading into May Long Weekend. We want to remind everyone that our Berwick physical distancing protocols are still in place at all our communities, and we appreciate your continued commitment in adhering to these protocols. While British Columbians can now ‘double their pandemic bubble,’ the provincial health order is still in place regarding essential visits only and we have not yet received permission to remove that restriction. We are carefully monitoring this and will update you immediately should this change. 

On the brighter side of things however, we wanted to send you off with some feel-good stories that we all seem to be craving more and more these days. We have launched a weekly video series called ‘Keeping Our Spirits High‘ to showcase all the innovative, inspiring and heartwarming moments that have been happening at our sites since COVID-19 began.

Watching these videos and seeing all the photos from the sites has brought us so much joy internally at Berwick, and we knew we had to share this with our greater Berwick family and broader communities. Thank you to our Berwick Employees for going above and beyond to show how much they care about our Residents. It’s truly extraordinary!

We will be posting these videos to our Berwick YouTube Channel, our Facebook page and right here on our website. Just click on the links above to be redirected to those web pages.

Stay tuned for another fun video series that we are working on behind the scenes that may alleviate some stress when it comes to meal times at home. 

In the words of Dr. Bonnie Henry as we head into the long weekend: “Let’s make this our summer of care and consideration for our families, our communities and our province. A summer for us all to remember to be kind, to be calm and to be safe.”

Berwick’s Response to COVID-19

As we continue to practice social distancing in our local and broader communities to help curb the spread of the Novel Coronavirus, we thought this would be a good time to share all the things we have been implementing at our sites to bring you up to speed on how we are working to prevent COVID-19 in our communities.

To date, we have had one confirmed case in our Berwick by the Sea community in Campbell River. We rolled out our pandemic plan on the 24th of March, and managed to contain the virus to one resident. The learning we have taken from this experience has been invaluable, and with a better understanding of what worked well and what we may need to rethink, we feel even more prepared as we continue to navigate our way through COVID. 

Here are the protocols we have implemented at all sites to ensure the safety of our residents and our employees:

  • Outbreak policies in place at all Berwick Communities 
  • Berwick is closed to visitors unless deemed ‘Essential’ 
  • Examples of essential visits include, but are not limited to:
    • Visits for compassionate care (end of life and critical illness) • Visits considered paramount to resident care and wellbeing, such as assistance with feeding or mobility • Existing registered volunteers providing services as described above only 
  • Brio is closed to all visitors including Berwick residents
  • Brio Staff Members are now required to wear masks when physical distancing is not a possibility 
  • Active pre-screening for every essential visitor who enters any of our Berwick communities 
  • Single point of entry at all Berwick communities 
  • Enhanced sanitization and cleaning procedures 
  • All dining rooms and bistro’s suspended – door to door room service has been implemented 
  • Only disposables will be used for room service
  • All delivery carts will be sanitized between meals
  • Social distancing parameters in place for residents and staff 
  • Activities limited to ensure social distancing parameters are met – transitioning to a more virtual platform for activities via YouTube and Zoom
  • Active Living Team is coordinating virtual visits with family members (Zoom, FaceTime, Skype) 
  • Onsite Tuck Shop stocked with essentials so residents don’t have to continue to leave the building 
  • Active Living Team’s available to help residents with online shopping and ordering 

We cannot stress enough our heartfelt gratitude for your patience, understanding and tremendous effort during these unprecedented times. This situation is changing daily, and we are going to keep adjusting to it. This is a temporary approach out of an abundance of caution for your health and safety. 

In the meantime, we are grateful for our residents and employees. We have seen tremendous support from them and we are very thankful for their patience and cooperation during these challenging times.

 

COVID-19 Updates for Travel, Pre-Screening Measures & Cancellations

March 14, 2020

The Provincial Director of Health has strongly recommended that travel outside of Canada be avoided if possible while the COVID-19 outbreak continues.   For all those who are returning from outside of Canada, a self-isolation period of 14 days is to be observed BEFORE interacting with the general public.  In our ongoing effort to ensure everyone’s health and well-being, Berwick will be implementing this recommendation immediately for all staff, residents and visitors.

We strongly recommend that our residents and staff do not travel at this time, avoid large groups and request your family and friends to refrain from visiting.  Should your travel be essential then please be aware that you will be required to self-isolate for a minimum of 14 days.  We are also taking the added precaution of implementing personal health and travel screening for  visitors to our community to mitigate transfer of this virus. Please note, if you do not contact us prior to arrival, you will be met at the door by a staff member who will be asking the following pre-screening questions:

  • Have you or any person(s) you reside with returned from China, Hong Kong, Iran, Italy, Japan, Singapore, South Korea or been on a cruise ship in the last 14 days?
  • Have you had close contact with or cared for someone diagnosed with COVID-19 within the last 14 days?
  • Have you or someone you reside with experienced any cold or flu-like symptoms in the last 14 days (to include fever, cough, sore throat, respiratory illness, difficulty breathing)? 

If you answer yes to any of the questions below, please refrain from visiting any Berwick Retirement Community for a period of 14 days.

Berwick is sincerely asking for your support in adhering to this direction by avoiding any visitation to our communities while in this self-isolation period or if you are exhibiting any outbreak symptoms.  Please ask yourself if your visit is truly essential or if there is a different way we can assist you such as delivering dropped off supplies to a resident.

We all share the same collective sensitivities to help ensure our Residents and Front-line staff remain healthy during this unprecedented time of outbreak.

What other things are we doing to help prevent COVID-19 in our residences?

  • Berwick has cancelled all community events and outings
  • Berwick is cancelling all private dining events, guest meals and guest suite stays
  • Staff who are unwell have been notified and requested to refrain from coming to work. Any staff who work at other sites in the community that have outbreaks are prohibited from working at our sites during the outbreak as per company policy.
  • Berwick is continuing to add additional staff and work hours where needed to help assist in cleaning and disinfecting all high touch point areas
  • Berwick has increased the number of hand sanitization & education stations within our communities
  • Our Clinical Resource Team is conducting educational in-services and providing around the clock support to our staff to help them provide the best care and services to our residents. This team is also available to answer questions our residents and families may have.
  • Promoting good hand hygiene and cough etiquette
  • We will be maintaining all visitor logs
  • Regular surveillance for signs and symptoms in residents
  • Use of gloves and masks as appropriate

While there have been a lot of changes that have been happening, one of the things that has not changed is that proper hand washing is paramount to reducing the spread of germs and viruses so we continue to urge everyone to maintain good hand hygiene practices.

For media inquiries, please contact:

Lesley Sikorski, Director of Sales & Marketing
email: lsikorski@berwickrc.com