What’s the difference between a household and an institution?
Size matters, says Lisa Burt, owner of Prairie Valley Lodge in Summerland – and the smaller the better. Prairie Valley Lodge is home to just nine residents, and takes pride in its high staff-to-client ratio.
“Seniors are people. They’re still growing and learning,” Burt said. “The best way to a high quality of life is in a genuine household, with all the comforts of home.”
Prairie Valley Lodge was built in 1997 specifically to offer that household model. Residents can enjoy everything home has to offer, experience daily pleasure, and continue to live a vibrant life with the reassurance of 24-hour professional care.
All meals are prepared in the household kitchen, and the aromas of fresh baking and delicious meals contribute to the homey atmosphere.
The staff is a close-knit team. “We share a sense of humour and enjoy each other’s company. The staff enjoy coming to work and their families feel comfortable to stop by and say hello to everyone,” Burt said. “Familiar, friendly faces are important for the well-being of the residents.”
An important part of the Prairie Valley culture is meaningful activities and events. “Every day we have something meaningful to look forward to,” Burt said. “Sometimes we volunteer in our community, delivering Meals on Wheels, or folding flyers for charity.”
Other activities include assisted walks through the neighbourhood, special meals, birthday celebrations, and regular outings—lunch or coffee, ice-cream trips, the Farmers Market, and drives through the orchards and vineyards.
Children from two nearby schools often come to visit or to entertain.
And the lodge itself is a comfortable home with a beautiful garden. A creek runs along the back yard, providing a home for a heron and a family of ducks. It is a peaceful oasis where residents and their visitors can enjoy each other’s company.
“Our yard and the creek are completely fenced for residents’ safety,” Burt said. “There is a secured, covered patio at the front of the building that provides the residents with protection from the sun and the freedom to transfer from inside the home to the patio area at will. Some residents choose to have breakfast or lunch served here in summer.”
Prairie Valley Lodge is well-equipped to help residents manage their medical and memory care needs, and the staff’s RN and LPNs work closely with each resident’s own doctor to provide proper care.
But as Burt says, it’s Prairie Valley’s small size that makes them stand out. “We’re tiny,” she said. “It’s boutique-style care, we’re very diligent. We’re different from everybody else.”