By Greg Price
Editor’s Note: The scheduled event stated in the following story has unfortunately been cancelled due to concerns regarding a flu epidemic at the Linden View care facility. For information on a new date and time for the re-scheduled event when announced, please visit our website or see an upcoming edition of The Taber Times. The Times apologizes for any confusion.
Right now a husband and wife are smiling up in heaven, with one final wish fulfilled.
The public is invited today for the unveiling of the new yard within the dementia cottages at Linden View.
Paul Giroux passed away last year, but not before putting in motion a promise to his wife Bernice who was a resident of Linden View as she battled Alzheimer’s Disease before her passing, to try and make the Linden View living space as enjoyable for people afflicted with the same illness.
The family wanted to make a special place where the residents of Linden View could enjoy the outdoors, while still understanding the complexities and context of residents living with dementia.
“She used to walk constantly, and all she could do was walk up and down the hallway because she couldn’t go outside because it wasn’t safe,” said Steph Giroux-Feininger, daughter of Paul and Bernice Giroux, who helped co-organize many different fundraisers that helped today’s unveiling be possible. “All they had was a cement pad with some cheap furniture on it and yard that had a slope on it that was fenced in. All the patients would do is constantly look outside and there was nothing to look at or walk to. My mom golfed everyday, sometimes twice a day where she was constantly walking and loved to be outside.”
At first, her loving husband Paul put a little wishing well, fake bridge and a flag on the grounds which the Alzheimer/dementia residents responded well to.
When Bernice passed away, the family wanted to leave a legacy in her name and fundraising efforts were ramped up starting off with the Linden View Alzheimer’s and Dementia Cottages Fundraiser at Boston Pizza back in 2014 helped raise seed money of $35,000 (tips from volunteer servers, portion of proceeds from food sales and silent auction items combined).
The money from that initial fundraiser also paid for recreation equipment and a bladder scanner for Linden View.
From there numerous other fundraisers and canvassing of the community, including a sizable donation by the Taber and District Health Foundation, has resulted in the new yard for residents to enjoy.
“We had a meeting from different stakeholders in the community, they saw the courtyard and within a month-and-a-half, the rest of the money (needed) was raised to get the yards done. Everything is done locally with the carpenters and the electricians,” said Giroux-Feininger, of the project that completed in late November.“We hired a local contractor. Pinnacle Landscaping and Tree Care was awesome doing most of the work. Other businesses helped out with discounts, the M.D. helped with the gravel. It was like all of Taber came to us and said ‘I can do this,’ ‘I can get that,’ and combining everything to make the project affordable and attainable. We got discounts on lumber and furniture, stuff like that. We got the costs cut down and we still had the same quality, if not better than we thought we could originally get done.”
Giroux-Feininger went to Linden View to see how the yard project was progressing and saw instantly some happy faces among the residents in the dementia cottages.
“I saw their faces pressed up against that window, they now have something to fully enjoy. It’s a safe and secure area for them to walk around in and for them to bring family to,” said Giroux-Feininger. “My mom will never have a chance to walk out there. If someone would have done this a long time ago, she would of. ”
In a moment of reflection of her departed parents, Steph’s eyes became a little misty eyed upon the realization of the finishing of the project in which her mother spent the last year of her life at in Linden View.
“It sucks that my mom and dad didn’t get to see this when they were alive. That hurts me the most. But I promised my dad a long time ago that I would get it done and I did,” said Giroux-Feininger. “There is a lot you can accomplish when you have a community behind you that believes in a cause and has such a giving spirit.”
The Linden View Gains a Yard unveiling of the first phase goes today at 5 p.m. To celebrate the grand opening, organizers are inviting donors, the community, and anyone else who is interested to see the yard all lit up with all its amenities.
Linden View is located at 4700 64th Avenue in Taber.