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Care home marking 20th anniversary

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River East Personal Care Home administrator Ron Parent is excited to help the home mark its 20th anniversary.

PHOTO BY DAN FALLOON Enlarge Image

River East Personal Care Home administrator Ron Parent is excited to help the home mark its 20th anniversary. Photo Store

The River East Personal Care Home has taken on the challenges of changing times.

The home, located at 1375 Molson St., is marking its 20th anniversary this year with a come-and-go wine and cheese event on Sept. 18. The reception will take place from 7 to 9 p.m. and will feature musical entertainment, speeches, and appearances from local politicians. As well, service awards will be presented to staff reaching milestones.

The centre was opened by Michael and Irene Baron in 1993. The Barons opened their first home, Baron Nursing Home, in 1954 and went on to open five others, including River East and its neighbour, the Irene Baron Eden Centre in 2008.

Administrator Ron Parent, who has worked at the centre for three years, said the health care industry has seen plenty of evolution in recent years.

"The only thing that’s been constant is change itself," said Parent, noting everything from the standards expected by the Winnipeg Regional Health Authority and by families, equipment, and the needs of staff have changed.

Parent said one of the major changes the facility has seen is the Eden Alternative, an American holistic philosophy adopted by the centre about a decade ago.

"Their focus is alleviating the three plagues, is what they refer to them, of boredom, helplessness, and loneliness," said Parent, noting the approach is meant to work alongside medications and treatments. "They support the daily activities of companionship, of having animals in the home, of making time for the elders."

Another change has come more recently. Earlier this month, the centre finished expanding its five lounges, one in each "neighbourhood" of the facility, into dining areas. The smaller areas are meant to give residents an option for quieter, cleaner, and closer meal times as opposed to eating in the large communal dining area.

"It’s the type of thing our elders and families have asked for, and we’ve made it a strategic priority," Parent said. "There are always a few blips when you introduce a change, but so far the response has been positive."

River East is home to 120 seniors, while another 48 live at the Irene Baron Eden Centre. River East has one wing of the centre devoted to helping people with Alzheimer’s disease and dementia.

Parent estimated well over 500 seniors have lived in the facility, which has seen its staff increase from 100 to 150 over its history. Parent also noted the majority of residents are from the neighbouring areas of the city.

In addition to the wine and cheese, the facility will hold a tree-planting ceremony this fall where five trees will be planted to represent each of the its neighbourhooods.

For more information, visit www.rivereast.ca

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