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The art of enriching senior living

Nanaimo seniors’ residence tailors holistic activities to every community member
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The team at Origin at Longwood operate under a simple motto for their community members: “What do you want to do today?” This question brings a dynamic program of activities that cater to the physical, social, intellectual and spiritual needs and well-being of the community.

“We have a holistic approach to our programming. We touch on different dimensions to enhance our community members’ lives,” says Faress Barraquias, Origin at Longwood’s Life Enrichment & Leisure Activities Manager.

From fitness exercises tailored for all levels, including community members in wheelchairs, to social events like weekly live entertainment and monthly birthday celebrations, the range of activities are both broad and inclusive.

During the pandemic, the residence had to adapt to closed spaces, like churches. “We hold weekly prayer gatherings, welcoming all backgrounds. It’s about coming together, sharing hope and supporting each other,” Barraquias says.

For the artistic activities, a group of painters and knitters meet weekly, their artworks culminating in an end of year Christmas art market, with all proceeds going to charities.

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From fitness exercises tailored for all levels, including residents in wheelchairs, to social events like weekly live entertainment and monthly birthday celebrations, the range of activities are both broad and inclusive. Photo courtesy of Origin at Longwood.

Community members also volunteer in various capacities, from welcoming newcomers to managing the on-site library, furthering a culture of engagement and mutual support.

Unique activities set the residence apart. Favourites include chair fitness classes with specialized equipment and Club O™, offering membership-based activities for the wider community, albeit currently on pause due to pandemic restrictions.

Community members play an important role in shaping the activity calendar. “We’ve created a form for community members to communicate what they specifically want to see and do, ” Barraquias says, noting that bi-weekly resident meetings will complement those suggestions. “I’m personally looking forward to creating activities that make community members happy.”

A highlight for all is when Origin welcomes entertainers for special occasions like birthdays or dances. “The community members really appreciate singing along to the music. Some people dance; “it’s wonderful to see everyone’s smiles.”

Community members particularly look forward to events like the pool tournament, which draws both competitors and spectators, piano performances by their neighbours, and the “Who Am I?” event, where staff and community members share personal stories.

“It’s about understanding and meeting the diverse needs and interests of our community members,” Barraquias says. Through a blend of well-thought-out activities and community member-driven initiatives, the community under Barraquias’s guidance exemplifies how senior living can be both vibrant and deeply satisfying, embodying the spirit of “What do you want to do today?”

For more information visit Origin at Longwood website or call at 250-751-7755.

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