Outdoor space opens in Taber for people with dementia: ‘It’s bittersweet’

Outdoor space opens in Taber for people with dementia: ‘It’s bittersweet’

Outdoor space opens in Taber for people with dementia: ‘It’s bittersweet’

An outdoor yard is now accessible for residents living with dementia and Alzheimer’s at the Linden View Good Samaritan Designated Supportive Living Facility in Taber, Alta.

Bernice Giroux spent the last year of her life at the supportive living facility, and was confined to her home. Her husband Paul’s mission was to make sure Bernice and others who lived there were able to spend time outdoors.

Paul and Bernice have since passed away, but their daughter Steph carried on her father’s goal until its completion on Tuesday night.

ChangSha Night Net

“It’s bittersweet,” Steph Giroux-Feininger said. “It’s one of those moments you’d wish – I wish he was here and I wish she was here to see it.”

Before the project’s completion, residents living at the home with dementia and Alzheimer’s were not allowed outside due to safety concerns.

“When she was here, it wasn’t safe for her to walk outside. It just wasn’t going to happen,” Giroux-Feininger said. “To take that away from her was not good and we knew that we didn’t want for that to happen to anyone else.”

With the enormous support from the community of Taber, funds were raised and a safe outdoor space was created.

The yard is a secure space to sit, reflect and in the warmer months, a place to garden as well.

Staff at Linden View said residents were pressed up at the windows watching every step of the process.

“Seeing their faces and hearing their comments – they’re extremely excited about it,” Laurel Syryda, site manager of Linden View, said. “I think their families are extremely excited as well to be able to have a place to come and enjoy the outdoors with them, without taking them outside their own home.”

Steph said it was a mission of hers to finish the project her father started and hopes he would be proud.

“He was a heck of a guy, and she was a fun, wonderful person and they would both do the same thing if they were here.”

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