Doris Loewen wants to get all dolled up and play the piano for an audience.
The 91-year-old lives at Misericordia Place, the care home run by Misericordia Health Centre.
"They’re going to get me kind of dressed in something really pretty, some kind of ballgown," said Loewen.
She’s played piano since she was six years old and will be the first resident to perform at the Misericordia Foundation’s gala dinner this year.
It’s her "dream destination" in a fundraiser that gets residents moving — walking and pedalling — and improves their well-being.
"The goal is fitness and wellness," recreation therapy manager Jennifer Klos said Wednesday.
"You look at overall wellness and it includes areas of socialization, emotional health, physical health, and giving these residents something to look forward to."
The "Around the World" campaign rewards care home residents who participate in fitness journeys with trips and experiences in Manitoba.
The campaign target is $60,000, which will help pay for the "dream destination" trips, virtual tours and anything else residents choose, as long as it’s local. The wellness goals are fine-tuned to individual needs.
In Loewen’s case, she participates in recreation programs — which she said makes residents excited to get up, even when it’s difficult, and reminds her of her love of dancing — and plays music with her son when he visits.
Other residents have other goals and rewards.
An 84-year-old resident is working on getting her strength up through walking to visit The Forks for the first time. Others are focused on emotional and social wellness; one resident wants to visit the Winnipeg Humane Society to cuddle with the adoptable animals. A married couple at the care home received a catered Indian meal for Valentine’s Day.
"What we wanted to do was give our residents personalized, extraordinary experiences that are in our care, just as a way to celebrate them, and give them something to be excited about," Klos said.
It’s a way to take residents on a trip without worrying about COVID-19.
"These last two years, it’s been really hard for our residents with everything going on with COVID and increased isolation," Klos said.
"Giving them something to look forward to and be excited about was something that we were very, very happy to do."
This is the second year of the fundraising campaign. Last year, the centre purchased exercise bikes to help residents keep moving.
So far this year, $44,000 has been raised.
Canadian Tire will contribute $2 for every $1 donated. Those interested can donate online at misericordiafoundation.com or by calling 204-788-8458. The campaign ends March 2.
Malak Abas is a reporter for the Winnipeg Free Press.