Garden of earthly delights opens at Kiwanis Care Centre
Kiwanis Care Centre staff, residents and family members celebrated the official opening of the long-awaited Sensory Garden at the North Vancouver long-term residential care facility on Sunday, July 26. The new green space in the back of the facility now includes butterfly, water, vegetable/fruit and aromatherapy gardens as well as a gnome garden and Figure 8 endless pathway for staff, residents and their families to enjoy.
“The idea behind the garden was to provide a safe, relaxing environment for our residents who suffer from dementia and to enable family members to spend quality time with their loved ones in beautiful, calming environment, designed to provoke memory and promote conversation,” said Jane Webley, former KCC residential manager who spearheaded the project.
One of the highlights of the afternoon festivity was a performance by members of the Cowichan Tzinquaw dancers, who blessed the garden and even succeeded in getting a few folks in attendance dancing.
Eighteen months in the planning, the $25,000 wheelchair-accessible garden was entirely financed by donations and fundraising through events such as a silent auction, with the bulk of items generously donated by North Shore-based Tahltan multimedia artist Alano Edzerza.
KCC staff and family members were equally generous with their free time and muscles. They donated all the labour to build and complete the garden alongside Jane, now a VCH regional leader for End of Life, getting dirty, carrying rocks and building walls.
“It was a real team effort,” said Jane. “I can’t say thank you enough to all the people who made this garden a reality.”