Warm Wishes Club improve lives of residents at Chartwell Southwind

When seniors move to retirement living, they become part of a greater community, making lifelong friends and facing day-to-day life with a group of close peers. Joining a retirement village fosters strong friendships among residents – friendships that remain when fellow residents must visit the hospital or move to long-term care homes.

A group of Chartwell residents wanted to do something to assure fellow seniors that they were being thought about during their time away from their homes. This past January, Birdie Holtby, William Moffatt and Dorothy Sturtridge helped to form the Warm Wishes Club at Chartwell Southwind. Working with a number of staff members at the residence, the group found the perfect way to assure loved ones that they remained in the home’s thoughts during recovery time: delivering “Get Well” cards designed by Moffatt, purchased by the Lifestyle and Program Manager, and signed by Southwind’s inhabitants.

Warm Wishes Club delivers cards to residents
Although the group only began sending cards in January, it has seen immense success among residents and recipients. Moffatt, Holtby and Sturtridge work along with Chartwell staff to ensure the majority of residents have had the chance to sign the “Get Well” cards, whether they’re approaching people at lunch or finding other ways to contact them. Rhian Buksa, the Lifestyle and Program Manager at Southwind, explained that the Warm Wishes Club has already sent about 10 cards within the past three months, contacting family members and ensuring the cards make it to residents.

The group solely sends “Get Well” cards at the moment, but in the future, they hope to start sending cards for a number of occasions.

Residents greatly contribute to the group
While most of Southwind’s inhabitants are integral to the club – with the majority of the home’s residents signing each card – Buksa explained that it would not be possible without the contributions of Moffatt, Holtby and Sturtridge.

Moffatt, who used to work as an engineer, has had a passion for the arts his entire life. Not only has Moffatt proven himself to be a capable painter, but he has also been an active member in the residence’s Drama Club, as well as a lyrical writer. He took a few art classes from Southwind and was a member of the Drawing Club. After seeing some of Moffatt’s impressive artwork depicting the scenery of Southwind, Buksa commissioned him to start crafting designs for the “Get Well” cards.

Holtby is instrumental in ensuring that all residents have had the chance to sign the cards. Whenever the club has a new card, Holtby drives on her scooter from table to table, ensuring that all residents have had the chance to sign the card. According to Buksa, Holtby is incredibly valuable to the club, due mostly to her ability to not only remember but befriend all Southwind residents and their family members.

“She is an absolutely wonderful lady with a heart of gold and a sharp memory for names and faces,” Buksa explained. “She not only seems to know the name of every resident in our building and their backgrounds, but also develops close relationships with the family members that come to visit them as well.”

Finally, Sturtridge has also proven to be an invaluable member of the club. Her “keen eye for details” has been helpful for discovering inconsistencies and ensuring quality at every turn. In addition to providing help to the Warm Wishes Club, Sturtridge has been a wonderful presence in the community by planting flowers around the building. Buksa explained that in the future, the club may use images of Sturtridge’s beautiful buds on the cover of their cards.

Southwind residents who have artwork they wish to share, whether they’re drawings, paintings or photos, may soon have the opportunity to submit their works for consideration, as the club is looking to expand its offerings.