Meadow Park Chatham's Family Council honours Seniors Month

Earlier this month, Meadow Park Chatham held its annual Family Council Barbecue to raise awareness about Family Council Week but to also celebrate Seniors Month. The home has been holding this event for the past five years and the 2016 event boasted the best turnout from residents and families. Residents and families could enjoy a delicious barbecue, entertainment with fiddler Ryan St. Denis and a new twist this year - an old car show.  a group of residents and family members are seated at picnic tables, enjoying bbq outdoors on a sunny day

The key message of the event was the importance and availability of support for families coping with residents who live in the long-term care setting.  Local Chatham-Kent-Essex MPP Rick Nicholls was on hand at the event to meet and talk with residents and their families. He brought greetings from his office and talked about his efforts to bring the message to Queen's Park about the needs of seniors living in long-term care. He also complimented Meadow Park on their efforts to care for and advocate for residents who live in the 100 bed long-term care home (Meadow Park Chatham successfully submitted more than 1,600 letters on behalf of their 100-bed home in the Ontario Long Term Care Association's 2016 Better Seniors' Care advocacy campaign!).

MPP Rick Nicholls is standing on a stage and speaking into a microphone, addressing the bbq attendeesOverall, the mood was light-hearted and fun - residents and families alike could be seen tapping their toes and singing along with entertainer Ryan St. Denis who was joined by his wife Crystal Gage. The duo are among favourite entertainers who come to Meadow Park monthly to provide music.

"Family council is an important venue for family members with loved ones in long term care. It's a source of information, education and support for a journey that is new to many and scary for most," said Jay Cunningham, family council president. "Extending that feeling of togetherness through food and music seems natural, and on a sunny summer day it always seems like a great idea. Our summer BBQ offers friends, family and residents a chance to get together in the open air, enjoy some hamburgers and hot dogs, great music and have fun. That's the foundation of family council at Meadow Park and we appreciate everyone's support."

A highlight was the combination of this event with the annual “Old Car Show.”  It was thought by the home and the family council that incorporating these two events together might draw a larger crowd and give members of the community an opportunity and a reason to come and check out the event. The Kent Historic Auto Club has been coming to Meadow Park each fall for a number of years and this year they agreed to switch things up a bit and attend the Family Council barbecue to showcase 14 of their gorgeous cars.  A great time was had by all! A line of classic cars sit in Meadow Park's parking lot

"First of all we would like to thank the super staff" said Floyd and Brenda Kells, family members of resident Harold Kells. "The participation level with the entertainment was super, everyone could relate to the music and sang along with enthusiasm. The food was everything you would want at a BBQ. The vintage cars were just an added bonus. Watching all of the smiling faces, was just heartwarming. Thank you Meadow Park. We had a great time and would urge others to join in next year." 

In photos (top to bottom): Residents and family members enjoy the barbecue; MPP Rick Nicholls (Chatham-Kent-Essex) addresses the crowd; classic cars line the parking lot.