95-year-old Blanche Gau is grateful for the generous Covenant Foundation donors who help fund the specialized music programs that enrich her life and make her feel comfortable at Youville Home.
Blanche Gau infuses uplifting notes in her long, happy life through the classical and tenor music she keeps in her room alongside her cherished keyboard. Prior to moving to Covenant's Youville Home well over a decade ago, Blanche enjoyed living with her family on a farm, and has fond memories of a simple life full of laughter and music with her husband and children.
Blanche’s first few months at Youville Home were a startling change from the life she was used to. Around the time Blanche moved into the St. Albert continuing care site 14 years ago, her husband’s health had faltered, and he unfortunately passed. Full of heartache and faced with a major life change, Blanche did not feel very optimistic at the beginning of her venture moving into Youville Home.
However, it was the realization that she could still listen to her music and participate in a variety of musical activities, combined with the wonderful environment of caring people, that made Blanche remember that home is where you make it your own.
For over a decade, there isn’t a recreation activity the nearly 95-year-old doesn’t participate in every week at Youville Home. Now, she can’t say enough about how wonderful her home is, and how grateful she is for Covenant Foundation donors who help support specialized programs and equipment, and enhanced spaces that provide the best care possible for residents.
"There are always so many wonderful activities here to participate in." says Blanche
Blanche’s contentment is enhanced by her regular routine of attending the Positive Note program, which offers sessions to small groups of residents (5-6 at a time), as staff play music in a private room and share messages about how to view life more positively. Blanche also enjoys attending church at the on-site chapel, visiting with the resident animals (birds and a rabbit), enjoying the soothing outdoor space available and partaking in physiotherapy to keep her active in her wheelchair.
You can’t help but smile when you talk to Blanche. Her happiness is contagious; it is readily apparent that donors have made a tremendous difference in her life and in the lives of other residents like her by supporting enhanced care that serves to improve residents’ moods, health and wellbeing, and keep them active and connected to their community.
"I want to thank donors for keeping music a part of my life and for supporting such a fun mix of activities that I regularly enjoy," says Blanche. "They've really made a huge difference in my life and give me hope and happiness."
Since 2016, the foundation has committed over $1.09 million to enhance care at Youville Home, including $817,000 for the major expansion and redevelopment of the multipurpose space that opened in 2022. Thanks to the generosity of donors, the larger multipurpose area provides an abundance of natural light and more accessible space for Youville's more than 230 residents to take part in recreational and occupational therapeutic programs, group activities and social gatherings year-round. When not being used for larger gatherings, the warm and inviting space is designed to invite relaxation and peaceful reflection.
"The new multipurpose space gives us the enhanced room we need for keeping our residents connected with our community, and offering additional specialized activities and programs to better meet the physical, cognitive, spiritual, emotional and social needs of our residents," says Heather MacGillivray, Program Manager, Continuing Care at Youville Home. "When I walk into the space, I see options. I see opportunity."
Together with our donors, Covenant Foundation is grateful to help transform care at Youville Home – body, mind and soul – and help residents such as Blanche continue to enjoy fulfilling lives.
Please enjoy this short video Blanche helped to make about Youville Home and foundation-supported therapeutic activities she enjoys:
Written by Jackie Fowler
To help support specialized programs and activities that hundreds of residents like Blanche enjoy at their continuing care sites, please visit our donation page.