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Pathways Project brings cheer to Memory Lane

Posted on September 8, 2020


Memory Lane provides a safe and secured unit for seniors with dementia including an outside secured garden for residents to enjoy.

Over the years, the garden has seen much activity from hosting pet visits with horses and other farm animals to family visits during the summer months and nice weather. It’s an important space for residents to enjoy and interact with nature.

This summer, Memory Lane benefitted from a special program headed by Augustana Campus student Jaden de Waal. Over the summer of 2020 and during the current restrictions of COVID-19, the campus, the Public Library, and the community came together to enhance the outdoor experience for residents.

The University of Alberta’s program Pathways provides an opportunity for students to complete a summer project in a rural or indigenous community of Alberta. Students design the program and apply for funding to complete during May to August.

Jaden decided to focus on helping residents at Memory Lane by creating an interactive space to connect with their rural backgrounds and enjoy the outside that much more. As she writes in her Pathways to Rural Alberta blog, “The flower beds at Memory Lane are filled with plants such as rhubarb, mint, and strawberries to trigger nostalgic memories. By having these plants that are commonly found in gardens, it allows the residents to have a sense of familiarity in their space.”

With the collaboration of the Camrose Public Library, Jaden created several projects to connect individuals back to place while having participating families and individuals “gain a greater sense of understanding about who lives in their community.”

Craft Kits were developed as a way for the community to create something for the residents. Volunteer residents at Rosealta Lodge packed the craft kits for the library. Families were then able to pick up the kits at the library, complete the project, and return them. The final product was then placed in the Memory Lane garden.

Another project was the creation of Sensory Garden I-Spy Books that guide residents through the planters and flower beds. As well, handmade cards and posters are strung up on trees to give words of encouragement.

When not in the garden, Jaden started recruiting six families from Kids Campus and the Camrose Public Library to participate in a penpals letter exchange with residents. Each week alternated between writing a letter to a resident and receiving one back.

To learn more about the project and how it benefitted so many, please watch Jaden’s video summarizing her experience at https://youtu.be/AOyemXY5BG4.

The staff and residents at Memory Lane and The Bethany Group thank everyone who participated and helped make a positive impact in our residents lives, especially during a pandemic crisis!

Read more about the Pathways Program.