There are few things in life that are certain, but one of them is that every person’s journey eventually comes to an end. When someone we care about leaves us, the most precious thing we get to keep are the memories of what they brought into our lives. In our communities, coming together to celebrate residents who have left us is an important way to maintain those connections and strengthen bonds among residents, families, volunteers and team members.
At Elk Court Enhanced Care in Nova Scotia, Recreation Coordinator Jannis Sanford created a new way to celebrate the lives of residents who are no longer with us. With the help of volunteers, she created beautiful memory jars, filled them with written memories of each resident lost and presented the jars to family members during a celebration of life ceremony. This casual event, which was designed to encourage residents, family members and families to exchange stories, acknowledged the losses families were experiencing as well as what Elk Court team members were feeling. As one team member put it, “as caregivers, we have the absolute honour and privilege of getting to know these wonderful people. We learn from them and love them – and we miss them when they are gone“.