Points West Living

Celebrating well-being in supportive living facilities

In Alberta, Canada, seniors are provided with quality supportive living spaces that do not compromise their quality of life or their independence. At Points West Living (PWL), residents can be found preparing vegetables with the kitchen staff, sitting with care aids at meal time or having a cup of tea. Family members are engaged in conversation with their loved ones; recreational leaders are overseeing a shopping trip.

Eden model of care

All of these are examples of the Eden Model of Care adhered to by PWL, a philosophy that says given the right resources, environment and support, seniors will create a thriving and vital community. The Eden philosophy takes the approach that long-term care need not necessarily take place in the realm of institutions and hospitals, and can be more effective in a home setting.

The polar opposite of institutional, PWL is based on a hospitality-driven service which focuses on wellness rather than sickness. “We absolutely embrace and encourage a home feeling, a sense of community and family,” says Rob Haberman, President of PWL. “The Eden Philosophy is something we practise; it is the opposite of hospital living. Pets are a very critical part of participation, for example. We recognize that pets can play an important part in a person’s emotional life. For many seniors having their treasured pet welcomed at PWL is the key to making a positive adjustment.”

Where everybody knows your name

It’s all a very rich atmosphere for Anne-Rachelle McHugh, Writer/Editor for PWL to find material. McHugh finds inspiration for her writing daily at the PWL facilities, whether it be in three generations of the Choats family living in PWL apartments, or in Edna Seniuk, a nurse in the Vegreville facility, who has 49 years of experience caring for seniors. McHugh describes Seniuk’s work as much of a lifestyle as a profession. “Many days you’ll find the 68-year-old LPN visiting Century Park residents on her days off or making cinnamon buns with residents who can no longer knead dough. Other days you’ll find her combing a resident’s hair while chatting like old friends,” writes McHugh of the exemplary PWL caregiver.

Tailored services—PWL hallmark

When residents feel they are ready to live at PWL, there is a wide range of living accommodations from which they may choose. “Our accommodations range from single-story facilities to a very complex four-story building,” says Director Doug Mills. “They range in design but the model of our business has not changed. Many of the PWL homes are designed in cottages, so we group residents in cottages in terms of their need.”

Many residents live in apartments and have housekeeping and meal services once a week. Others have gradually moved on to complete long-term care. “You can be living in an apartment and then as your needs increase you can get home care services, and as they become greater, you can move. The idea is to age in place, moving through levels of care with minimal disturbance to one’s cherished relationships and surroundings,” says Haberman.

For instance, a person may rent or buy a condo and live completely independently and then add home care services provided by an outside agency. Later, they may move into a supportive living suite where they continue to live independently and receive meals, housekeeping, laundry, personal care, health care services and social activities. Dementia care is provided at some locations and this too is another level of care a person could move to if needed.

A commonality between all choices is 24-hour medical services, personal care and a focus on hospitality. Residents are encouraged to design their personal routines and lifestyles; they decide when to rest and wake, when they would prefer their suites cleaned and what they prefer to eat.

With a strong relationship with Alberta Health Services, PWL ensures affordability will not be a factor for residences who can concentrate on their wellbeing. PWL is able, through government grants, to maintain affordable rents for 20 years. “We genuinely care about our residents. You have to have that passion,” says Mills.

With four beautiful facilities under the PWL umbrella—Grande Prairie, Lloydminster, Vegreville and Wainwright—seniors in Alberta are responding positively to their new living arrangements equipped with libraries, game rooms, commons, and exercise equipment, to name a few amenities. This has prompted Mills and Haberman to continue with their vision. Both men have substantial experience in the hospitality service industry and believe it is a fitting model for supportive living care.

Long-term happiness

“The common thread amongst the staff at all levels is we really do like to celebrate the lives of residents and the people who look after them. The staff is very passionate about what they do,” says Mills. Haberman adds, “I strongly believe that this is a different way of thinking when you come from a people-driven, satisfying-people background as opposed to old school. We want happy guests, happy residents. That adds a positive dimension to our service.”