Revera Launches Java Across Canada

Thank you, Revera!

This week Java Music, a peer support program, was shipped to all Revera retirement communities across Canada—giving staff evidence-based tools to engage residents and help target social isolation and loneliness.

In an effort the enhance resident’s quality of life, many Canadian care homes have introduced the Java programs. They have seen residents regain their love of life and sense of purpose, build new relationships and develop increased respect for their peers.

Over the past year, a generous grant from the Centre for Aging + Brain Health Innovation has added 39 new locations across Ontario where residents now benefit from these evidence-based peer support programs. Called The Power of Peer Support, this project committed to knowledge mobilization, interactive training workshops, coaching sessions and public webinars woven together to elevate facilitators’ skills.*

One of the homes in Ottawa, Carlingview Manor, had a unique approach. The program was initiated by the home’s family council in April of 2019. Marlene Thomas, president of the family council wrote the following about the program.

“I am so happy to be among everybody.”

“We launched the Java Music Club on 3 floors at Carlingview Manor last week and while there were a few hiccups, all in all, they were quite successful. At the end of one of the groups, one of the participants said: ‘I am so happy to be among everybody.’

We had 2 men who seldom or never speak, one actually introduced himself and the other did contribute quite a lot with encouragement from the facilitator. One man, while he doesn’t vocalize, he was easy to understand by his body language.  He told us he played guitar, without words, just the motions.

All of the participants were comfortable with each other. Thank you so much once more! One of my current goals is to recruit more volunteers so we can bring the Java program to more and more residents at Carlingview Manor.”

Marlene Thomas, President, Carlingview Manor Family Council

*The Power of Peer Support: Reducing Social Isolation in Residential Care was a collaborative project between the Ontario Centres for Learning, Research and Innovation in Long-Term Care (CLRI), Java Group Programs, Carleton University’s Department of Health Sciences, and Bruyère Continuing Care. It was funded by the Centre for Aging + Brain Health Innovation, Carleton University and the Government of Ontario through the Ontario CLRI. The views expressed herein do not necessarily reflect the views of the Province.

“It’s the abilities that we have that we’ve forgotten.”

Arbutus Care Centre in Vancouver, British Columbia, is also part of the Revera family. Boyd Foster lives at the Arbutus Care Centre and he shared about the residents’ experiences surrounding the implementation of the Java Music program.

“The Java Music Club is something that really helps people a lot because it got them talking about themselves…it gives people the wherewithal to do something for themselves. The talking stick is great because you go ‘here’; there’s no way to get around it. It is passed on to you.

Reading the Group Guidelines is for me fun because I’m getting good at it! Little things like that, they really add to one’s abilities. And it’s the abilities that we have that we’ve forgotten.”

Boyd Foster, Resident, Arbutus Care Centre

“A huge impact on the lives of so many!”

Christina Cheshire, who works at Arbutus Care Centre also shared her experience:

“There was a new resident at Arbutus who had only been at the home for a week. I saw her walking down the hall coming towards the recreation room where we were going to hold the Java Music Club.

I asked her if she wanted to come and she pointed to David,* another resident walking in front of her. He turned around and said that he told her about the group. This is amazing for 2 reasons.

Firstly, David does not express enthusiasm for other groups. Secondly, by inviting a new resident he is showing that he sees some value in the group and wants to share that value.

Secondly, the two residents sat together at the Java Music Club. David offered to help me serve the coffee at tea to “move it along” so we could get started. At the end of the group David said to Norah ‘Aren’t you glad you came?’

It is such an honor to assist budding friendships such as this one. It is really making such a huge impact on the lives of so many!”

Christina Cheshire, Music Therapist, Arbutus Care Centre

*Note: Names have been changed to protect confidentiality. This blog is reposted with permission.

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