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Category Archives: Our Stories

Memorable Moment: Princess for a (birth)Day

An Individual’s dream of becoming a princess came true on her birthday.

Earlier last month Team Care at Stone Brook came together to make this dream a reality. The recreation room was decorated in her favorite colors purple, pink and red; streamers, balloons, disco balls, flowers, and “Happy Birthday” Banners.

Staff that had grad dresses and princess attire became princesses themselves and Individuals attending the party also came dressed for the occasion.

The birthday girl was also wearing a beautiful tan gown decorated with rhinestones, donated to Stone Brook a few years ago.

When she entered the party that was attended by over a dozen people, she was handed a rose from each Team Care member.

Her favourite supper was prepared – hotdogs, different kinds of salads, chips and snacks and of course there was a birthday cake fit for a princess! 

Everyone had an awesome time and the birthday girl loved being a princess for her special day.

Memorable Moments: The Bad Dream Lottery

This Memorable Moment comes from an Individual Care has been supporting for a few years.

This Individual has a witty personality and often cracks a joke or two. One afternoon they were talking with their Support Worker about dreams, in particular bad ones.

The Individual said they had a nightmare. In it they had won a million dollars. Surprised, the Support Worker asked why that was a nightmare, isn’t winning a million dollars what people dream of?

The Individual replied, with a straight face, “it was a bad dream because I woke up and didn’t have a million dollars!”

Now you can’t argue with that logic! 

Care Sensory Experience Rooms

Care is embarking on a new adventure, creating a Sensory Experience Room. 

Care’s first Sensory Experience Room is located in Grimshaw at Stone Brook, a DSL facility, with the goal of opening it to the community in the future.

A sensory room is a therapeutic space that’s typically furnished with a variety of interactive equipment that provides the individual with an engaging and personalized sensory experience. From equipment that provides deep pressure, like the steam roller, to projected lights and sounds. Each person that enters the room chooses how they’d like to interact with that environment.

The benefits are significant for individuals with ASD and sensory processing difficulties and include: improved social interactions,  reduced perseveration (i.e., repetitive stereotypical movements), reduced somatosensory disturbances (i.e., frequent and repeated movements or rocking),  decreased mood disturbances (i.e., over-reactivity, lack of responsiveness), and greater ability to focus.

Similar benefits are proving valuable for those with memory disorders such as Alzheimer’s, offering a safe place to stimulate or relax the brain and explore.

Needless to say, we’re excited! Fingers crossed we’ll be able to bring a Care Sensory Experience Room to Grande Prairie next!

  • Thank you to Care’s Behaviour Specialist for contributing to the article

Memorable Moments: An Alligator

We are introducing a new feature as a way for the public to get a better understanding of what Care does and how we support Individuals with complex needs. Most of these Memorable Moments will be written in a way as to NOT identify the Individual(s) and support workers involved due to confidentiality.

This first Memorable Moment started as a regular interaction between an Individual and Support Worker.

The nonverbal Individual was looking out a window in their home when the SW asked what they saw/were looking at. “A rabbit? A bird?” After several guesses with no response, the SW thought of the most out of ordinary animal “An alligator?” The Individual turned to the SW in shock and perfectly repeated ”alligator”. Not only repeated the word, but said it in a strong loud voice, loud enough for fellow housemates and SWs to hear! 

Sometimes thinking out of the box is where you will find the greatest rewards. Truly a Memorable Moment we want to celebrate! 

Supporting Individuals living with Alzheimer’s Disease and Dementia

During this Alzheimer’s Awareness Month, we would like to share with you a bit about the Individuals we support.

Care supports approximately 25 Individuals diagnosed with Dementia. A few of those Individuals have been diagnosed with Alzheimer’s Disease. Care’s Designated Supportive Living facility in Grimshaw, Stone Brook, provides DLS3, DSL4 and DSL4D care. 

What does that mean?
DSL4D supports are for Individuals “with moderate to severe dementia, who may have a high risk of wandering and unpredictable behaviours but who are not a safety risk to themselves or others.” (AlbertaHealthServices.ca)

Research has shown that Alzheimer’s is the most common cause of Dementia.

Stone Brook has 76 supportive living suites within six furnished cottages: Poppy Lane, Wilcox, Memory Lane, Mackenzie Cottage, Heritage Way and Lac Cardinal Cottage. 

Poppy Lane is a locked unit and resident’s room are equipped with door alarms to ensure the safety of the Individuals.

This past fall, Stone Brook developed a Dementia Awareness campaign, creating posters explaining behaviours visitors might see when visiting the facility. 

Learning about other people’s journey helps us come together as a community and care for those in need.

Our Stories: Susan (Susie) Rigler

Care would like you to meet Susie.

Susie is a resident of Stone Brook in Grimshaw and always has a smile to share with fellow residents, visitors and staff.

Susie is ready to lend a hand and help with any task, activity or event. You can see her sitting at the front desk at Stone Brook, offering warm greetings to all.  She is also in charge of sorting mail and feeding the resident cats and fish.

When Susie isn’t working, she likes to go for walks as well as shopping in town.

Her favourite meal is hamburger and fries and her favourite cat at Stone Brook is Smoky.

Thank-you Susie for sharing a bit about yourself with everyone!

Our Stories: Victoria Kingston

This is Victoria’s story, our Communication Coordinator

Hi! My name is Victoria Kingston and I have been providing one-liners and clever quips to the general public since the 4th Grade when Mrs. McCaig was forced to add “sarcasm” to her list of prohibited classroom activities on the blackboard.

Initially aspiring to become a world-renowned chemist, I switched programs to marketing and communications after I realized I really hated math and Bunsen burners.

I started working for ASLS in November 2017. Up until then, I had only ever worked in the commercial sector. The biggest change I experienced working for a non-profit was a shift in purpose.

In previous positions, the main motivation behind marketing campaigns, projects, and deliverables were to drive revenue. At ASLS, the purpose behind my work is to generate awareness, create documents and templates that make my colleagues work easier, broadcast victories and, above all, improve the quality of life of some of the most vulnerable people in our community.

My work environment is one of cooperation, compassion, and growth.

Although I was born in Grande Prairie, I only recently relocated here a couple of years ago. I suppose you could say I’m like salmon and have returned to my spawning grounds. I rent an acreage from my aunt just outside of Sexsmith where I live with my boyfriend, Brandon. Our two rescue dogs, Yoshi and Zelda, love the space and every day is an adventure in identifying what they drop on my doorstep.

Yoshi and Zelda

When I am not typing, I like to sew teddy bears by hand. My grandma taught me how to do it and it’s a tradition I have carried on. Recently, I started a small enterprise where I turn shirts and blankets with sentimental value into teddy bears.

Our Stories: Jane Weber

This is Jane’s story, a CSW in Grimshaw.

I’ve been with ASLS for just over a year. I’ve worked with individuals with varying degrees of challenges for most of my life. I remember at 6-years-old helping my mother (she had a brain injury before I was born).

I have 2 children and 7 grandchildren. My husband, Dan, and I enjoy spending time with our family whenever we can. We also enjoy camping and will sometimes camp and go to work from the trailer!

In my spare time, I do many crafts. I sew, quilt, knit, crochet, weave and do needlepoint. I just finished making a queen-sized quilt for my husband and a king-sized quilt for my daughter.

I also donate chemo caps to those who lose their hair to cancer. So far, I’ve made and donated 400 chemo caps (or chemo hats) to hospitals in Alberta, Ontario and some in the USA.

Our Stories: Annette Williams

This is Annette’s story, our Advocator for Individuals ASLS supports

Annette has been with ASLS for two and a half years and was hired as a CSW.

Born and raised in Newfoundland, she lived in Ontario for 20 years before moving to Grande Prairie.

Annette has been married 32 wonderful years, has five children and 13 grandchildren!

Why do you stay?

“This is the most caring and supportive place I have ever worked for. They genuinely care for the individuals and the employees. When ASLS says we work as a team, it truly is a team and the best team I have ever worked for.”

Why did you want to take on the challenge?

“I love to work with people, and I hope at the end of each day I made everyone’s day just a little brighter.”

What is one of your fondest memories so far?

“There are so many fond memories but one that sticks out the most is the work I did with an individual getting him ready to move out on his own and prepare him for being on his own.”

What do you tell yourself when it is a stressful day? How do you practice self-care?

“I tell myself that no matter how stressful it is on me it must be so much harder for the individual. I was very bad on self-care in the past but recently I have learned to take time for myself just to relax and sit.”

What would you say to the founding parents if they were here right now?

“I would tell them that the work and support they give to everyone from the employees to the individuals cannot be matched by any other organization. They really give you the tools and support to do your job to the best of your ability.”

How has ASLS impacted your personal life?

“I can’t begin to say the positive way ASLS has impacted me personally. I have had so much support and care from everyone at ASLS especially in the past 10 months. Knowing that I had such a caring employer who supported me through that time meant more to me than words can say and I could never thank ASLS enough.”

Quick facts about Annette:

– She loves spending her spare time with her family

– She was a figure skater for 18 years AND played hockey for 8 years

Our Stories: Zainab Ashiq

This is Zainab Ashiq’s story, our Administrative/Clinical Support Assistant in Grimshaw

Zainab has been with us for just three months and was hired on as a CSW and applied “because a lot of people had said ASLS is an amazing organization to work for.”

Why do you stay?

“I love my job. I’m working my hardest in hopes to get hired again next summer.”

Why did you want to take on the challenge?

“I thought it would fit well with my degree choice. I wanted the work experience.”

What is one of your fondest memories so far?

“Sharing an office with Laura. She taught me so much.”

What do you tell yourself when it is a stressful day? How do you practice self-care?

“To take deep breaths and stay calm. I love to self-care by taking a bath (lush bath bombs are my favourite) and spending time with my family.”

What are you most surprised about working here?

“How easy everyone is to get along with and how hardworking this team is.”

What would you say to the founding parents if they were here right now?

“That they’ve built something incredibly special.”

How has ASLS impacted your personal life?

“I’ve learnt to appreciate a lot more and be more open with myself and others.”

Quick facts about Zainab:

– She has two older brothers and no pets, yet!

– She loves to shop online and spends a lot of time at the gym

– She would eventually like to work at an accounting firm somewhere in the city

– She is surprisingly good at jumping hurdles for how short she is

– She would love to have lunch with Michelle Obama and it wouldn’t matter where. “She’s one of my biggest inspirations and I would love to sit & chat with her.”

Any message you would like to share?

“I would just like to say a huge thank you to everyone who has been so welcoming and kind since I’ve started here.”