Every donation will help
make the lodge a home.
Imagine moving your dad, your kohkom, husband or ki nâpêm to the lodge because they need long term care. The people are wonderful and welcoming, but it’s still a scary transition. And it isn’t free, residents pay rent every month. So, is it really asking too much to have the simple comforts of home—a private bathroom, a room big enough to turn a wheelchair around in, a comfy living area where your family can visit together?
Meadow Lake urgently needs to replace our aging lodge. And it’s up to the community and surrounding area to raise money to equip and furnish the new building. Your donation will help make the new lodge a home. It will also ensure residents and staff have access to the equipment and furnishings they need for years to come.
Because we deserve better.
For our grandparents (ki moshôminawak and ki nohkominawak), our moms and dads (kikâwiynawak and
ki ohtawiyminawak), our ki ostêsiminwak and kimisiniwak (brothers and sisters)—please help us raise money to equip and furnish the new lodge, and to continue to update and replace lodge equipment and furnishings as they wear out.
When you picture the existing old lodge in Meadow Lake, picture staff providing care with dignity. Picture them finding creative ways to offer a little more privacy and independence to residents, in a facility designed before we truly understood how much those things matter. Picture them working hard to create a safe environment that feels less like an institution and more like a home.
Now, picture how you’ll feel knowing your donation will make life a little better, a little safer and a lot more comfortable for residents and staff tomorrow, when they move into a new, modern lodge.
The NCLA is raising money to equip and furnish the new lodge. Whatever can be moved from the current lodge will be moved. But we know the new lodge will need a lot of new equipment and furnishings, including new patient beds, air mattresses to provide adjustable comfort, patient alarms to help staff avoid a fall, accessible tubs to make bathing easier, ceiling-mounted lifts to safely move patients from bed to chair, comfy armchairs for patient lounges, a large screen TV for movie nights, outdoor patio furniture so residents can soak up the sun, and much more.
A full list of equipment and furnishings for the new lodge is still in development, but check out our preliminary Wish List, developed with input from lodge and health region staff.
Roy: Getting out of bed every day, no matter what.
“I love the relationships I’ve built with staff—if it wasn’t for them, where would I be now?”
– Roy Fiddler, resident
Roy Fiddler grew up in Waterhen Lake First Nation. As a young man, he worked in forestry, road construction and fire fighting. In 1999, he shifted gears and became an apprentice welder. He went on to earn his journeyman red seal certification and worked most of his career with RobWel. When he wasn’t working, he was busy doing auto repairs, working with horses and fishing.
In 2008, an accident left Roy a quadriplegic—a tough blow for an independent man in the prime of life. “I was devastated. I moved to the lodge because I needed assistance with my care, and I had to accept that,” he says.
Since moving to the lodge, Roy makes it a priority to get out of bed everyday, despite his physical injuries. He’s seen great improvement in physical function and movement of his upper body, which he partially credits to staff assistance. “I love the support and the caring relationships I’ve built with staff here. If it wasn’t for them, where would I be now?”
Asked what he would like to see in a new lodge, Roy quickly lists several things that would greatly improve quality of life, for himself and his fellow residents. “We need more room, we need ceiling track lifts in bedrooms, we need more equipment for physiotherapy, and we need a safer, straighter wheelchair ramp so people can turn their electric wheelchairs.”
Arlene: Grateful for good care, kind people and puzzles!
“I came to the lodge in 2009 after living with MS for 30 years. I’m so thankful for the help and care."
– Arlene Schuler, resident
As a young woman, Arlene Schuler attended teacher’s college and taught for a few years. But she spent most of her working life as a public servant, first for the federal government and then for the Alberta government. She was active as a volunteer in her community and enjoyed many hobbies, from skating and sports to baking, cooking and playing bridge.
In 1995, Arlene got a frightening diagnosis—multiple sclerosis. MS is an unpredictable disease that can cause many different symptoms, including difficulty walking, poor balance, vision problems, weakness, extreme fatigue, depression and more.
About six years after her MS diagnosis, Arlene broke her ankle. Over the next two years, her symptoms got worse and worse until she couldn’t manage on her own anymore. She moved to the lodge in 2009.
“I like many things about the lodge, like the activities and the puzzles, but the care is the single most helpful thing for me—the doctor, the nurses and the care staff,” Arlene says. She vividly remembers one evening when she became violently ill. The nurse on duty took care of her until help arrived. “I was so thankful for that help and care,” she remembers.
Now, Arlene looks forward to a new lodge. “I believe we need a new lodge with new equipment and furnishings, and increased privacy as well,” she says. “Also, temperature control in our rooms would make people happier and help reduce sluggishness.”
Arthur: 105 years young.
“As a missionary, I spent a lot of time helping others. Now I receive help.”
– Arthur Acton, resident
Art Acton celebrated his 105th birthday in July 2018, making him one of our oldest lodge residents. Born in 1913, he’s been witness to a century of remarkable change, from the dawn of the automobile age to the dawn of the computer age.
Art moved with his family from Ontario to Saskatchewan when he was a toddler. He helped work the family farm until he was 32. “I got tired of the dust storms,” he says. He left to attend bible college and spent many years working as a missionary.
After his wife passed away, Art moved from Edmonton to Loon Lake to be closer to family. Health issues brought him to the lodge in 2015. He’s got a lifetime of photos on the wall, and he still loves to read, garden and watch TV.
Art has a philosophical view of life at the lodge. “In some ways, being a resident here is like being a missionary, except I’m the one receiving the care, which I enjoy,” he says. “Staff are wonderful, caring people who are helping others who cannot help themselves. Staff here provide good care.”
But Art agrees it’s time for a new lodge. “We residents need a new home,” he says. “The lodge is helping a lot of folks now, but a lot more need it. A new facility will help more people who need care.”
Lorraine & Charles: Finding peace of mind.
“It’s the peace of mind knowing my dad has 24-hour care that’s most important to me.”
– Lorraine King, family member
When her mom passed away, Lorraine King convinced her dad Charles to move in with her family. But she worried about him falling, and she had visions of coming home after work to find him on the floor, not strong enough to get back on his feet. “I realized that he needed more care than I could provide, so we moved him to enriched housing and then to long-term care.”
Charles, who turned 87 in 2018, emigrated from Scotland in his 40s. “He’s got a deep Scottish accent and a good sense of humor,” Lorraine says. “He loves listening to music, especially classics like Sinatra and the Rat Pack.”
While in enriched housing, Charles had a window with a garden view. Lorraine remembers lodge staff working hard to get him a long-term care room with a view of a bird feeder—“he loves watching the birds,” she says. “I also appreciate how staff make a point of getting him involved in activities. But it’s definitely the 24-hour nursing that gives me the most peace of mind.”
Lorraine would love to see a new facility. “Right now, the rooms are small and need upgrading, some still have shared bathrooms so there’s no privacy. These residents have given a lot to their community over the years; it would be good to see the community give back with a bright, modern new facility, one that would let them live out their senior years in comfort.”
Dr. Gavin Van de Venter: A sense of belonging.
“Working at the lodge makes me feel that I belong, that I have value in the community.”
– Dr. Gavin Van de Venter, family physician
Dr. Gavin Van de Venter has worked at the lodge since he first came to Meadow Lake as a family physician in 2002. “My wife and I emigrated from South Africa. We only planned to stay a few years and then move on to a bigger city. Well, we fell in love with the place. Both our children were born here and we’ve established careers here, so we decided to stay. It seems we’ve become lifers.”
In the beginning, he had no idea how rewarding his work at the lodge would become. “At the lodge, I feel like I’m serving family members. I feel that I belong and have value, that the people here appreciate my work. I have close working relationships with staff, and I think that gives residents consistency and security.”
Dr. Van de Venter believes a new, modern lodge is important for the community. “It will give nursing staff better equipment and more space, so they can serve patients better. I’d like to have a procedure room where I could do minor procedures for patients in privacy. It would save on hospital trips, ambulance bills and Emergency Room visits.”
If he could speak directly to donors, Dr. Van de Venter says he’d start with a heartfelt ‘thank you.’ And he’d go on to say that, “if we are privileged to live long enough, would it not be a blessing to live in a spacious, light and comfortable place, where we are proud to invite friends for visits and know we are taken care of?"
Noreen: Making a difference in someone’s life.
“I like the fact that I get to make an actual difference, be it small or large, in people’s lives every day.”
– Noreen Tourond, continuing care aide
Growing up in Morin Creek, a small community just west of Meadow Lake, Noreen Tourond knew from an early age that she was meant to take care of others, especially elderly people. “Even as a child, my uncles called me ‘granny’ because I always hung around the elders, helping them and listening to their stories. Most of the time, I preferred that to playing with other children,” she says. “That’s why I chose a career in health care.”
She started at the lodge as a care aide in 1993. Today, she says staff at the lodge are a closely-knit group dedicated to residents. “It’s a very challenging job. It’s 24-hours a day, and people do get burnt out, but I like the fact that I get to make a difference in people’s lives.”
Still, the outdated building is making it harder and harder for staff to do their jobs. The lack of temperature control is particularly difficult, but there’s also the lack of space, along with the various plumbing and electrical issues that go along with a 60-plus-year old building.
“It directly affects our residents—they come from every ethnic background and they deserve to be comfortable during their last years,” Noreen says. “We owe them this.”