Family Council Feature - Riverview Gardens LTC Home Family Council

Riverview Gardens LTC Home (Chatham) Family Council shines brightly during Covid-19

Like all other ‘councils’ in Ontario, our council has faced many hurdles since the onset of Covid-19. From postponed and cancelled meetings for a number of months to being able to meet in reduced numbers or more recently in a virtual setting, we have suffered the same fate as many other councils. However, with tremendous support and encouragement from the facility’s staff and administration and with the “we can do this” spirit of our own members, we have persevered and managed to still conduct many of our meetings, only cancelling a total of 4 meetings since February of 2020.

Shortly after the onset of the first wave – April of 2020, - we were to award the Norm Lachapelle Award for Volunteerism to its first ever recipient. The award was developed by our council to recognize the efforts of a long-standing member of our council and an exceptional volunteer, Norm Lachapelle. Norm passed away suddenly, and our council felt it was important that he be remembered and his efforts as a volunteer be recognized. We undertook our selection process early in 2020 and were just about to start planning the award ceremony itself, when the pandemic came along. [We purposely based our timing on making the presentation during Volunteer Recognition Week.] But as we grew closer to the date and made our selection of the first-ever recipient, the lockdowns became more and more restrictive. Just when we thought it would not be possible to ‘present’ the award, council members worked with staff and came up with a plan whereby we could actually make the presentation. Finally, on November 14, 2020 – while maintaining all required social distancing and using the required medical grade face coverings, - we were able to present the award to Mr. Loues Duguay outside the Robertson Street entrance doors to Riverview Gardens. Then we had Loues move inside the facility to the Great Room where he could hold his plaque beside the primary permanent plaque that includes all the attributes and contributions of Norm himself. Norm’s wife Linda and their son Martin were able to be present as well for the presentation as was Janice Ward, a past Council Chair and long-time member representing our Family Council along with another long-serving member, Marylou Beaune. Connie Redmond was present to represent Riverview staff. Loues is a most fitting recipient as he has volunteered over 4,400 hours at Riverview Gardens since 2016. This represents almost 1,000 hours per year!

Is there a lesson here? I think it is to never lose hope and to always work collaboratively and you will find a solution to whatever challenge you are facing – even in the face of a pandemic. Just as our administration has developed new ways and protocols to deal with the pandemic, your ‘council’ can do the same. Be innovative; find new ways; come up with new ideas; and you will make your ‘home’ a better place for its residents. We wish your council all the best

G.D. (Greg) Kett, Interim Chair

Riverview Gardens Family Council

Chatham ON

We would like to extend our thanks to the Riverview Gardens Family Council and Home Administration team for this submission. We are sure this heart-warming article will touch and inspire other Family Councils across the province.