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Lifelong Learning program at Maple Villa helps residents further their education
In 2008, Maple Villa Long Term Care home created a program called Lifelong Learning, as a way to help residents in their quest to continue their education.
"When you look at the age of our residents and what was going on at the time of their 'prime' education years, it's no wonder that most of our residents have had their education interrupted because of work or family responsibilities, especially during wartime," explains Maple Villa's Life Enrichment Coordinator, Maria DaCosta. "So with this in mind, our team got creative and thought up a program that would give residents the opportunity to attend adult learning classes in the comfort of their own home."
Each year the program has a handful of residents who participate. Classes are ongoing throughout the year and last for 45 minutes, taught by one of the home's life enrichment team members. Even better, the residents who want to participate set the curriculum themselves, so they can pick whatever they're most interested in learning about. Subjects typically include math, science, art, history and language.
"The residents who attend the program maintain a healthy and active mind, while also socializing in a fun learning environment," says Life Enrichment Aide, Lisa George, who has been facilitating the program for the last several years.
Having run the program for over a decade, the team has also been able to perfect it.
"We experienced a few challenges early on while running the program, but for the most part we've been able to adapt and mitigate," adds DaCosts. "For example, we now use extra large font sizes so our residents can read the lesson plans with ease, we offer one-on-one assistance in the classroom for residents who may have hearing impairments or writing difficulties, and we even have 'after school' tutoring sessions for residents who may require extra help completing their homework assignments."
That's right - there are homework assignments too. Plus a graduation ceremony at the end of the year. This year, 10 enthusiastic residents participated and graduated at the end of June.
"The huge success of this program has been what drives us to continue with it and keep expanding it," adds George. "It's truly a privilege for the staff of Maple Villa to work with the residents in this way, because we believe that although we are teaching them, there is also so much we are learning from them at the same time."
Residents in photos (left to right, top to bottom): Paschal Hirbod, Margaret Trotter, David Rodman, Robert “Bob” Sawyers, James “Jim” Williams and Lorraine Jordan