Residents of Berwick House and Berwick Royal Oak have plenty of opportunities to be active and engaged. To learn more visit berwickretirement.com. (Photo: Derek Ford)

Residents of Berwick House and Berwick Royal Oak have plenty of opportunities to be active and engaged. To learn more visit berwickretirement.com. (Photo: Derek Ford)

Independent, together: Social lives thrive at this retirement residence

Physically-distant spin classes, balcony science experiments, bird spy bingo and more!

COVID-19 has forced us all to practice physical distancing, and this time has been particularly isolating for at-risk populations. But that hasn’t stopped the residents of Berwick House and Berwick Royal Oak from having fun.

In the early days residents connected bubble-to-bubble from their suite balconies, dancing to live music performed in the courtyard and performing egg drop science experiments. There was Bird Spy Bingo, Ice Castle building and physically-distanced cocktail hours.

“During Spain week we hosted Spanish Wine tasting. Residents loved it, so we’ll continue through the fall with different countries and drinks,” says Kendra King, Active Living Manager at Berwick House.

Berwick Qualicum Beach earned internet fame with their KISS music video, and Berwick House followed up with a This Little Light of Mine music video complete with a dextrous solo from a mandolin player in his 90s.

“COVID-19 doesn’t seem to interfere too much with our lifestyle here. We know it’s there and we have to behave ourselves, but we’re well looked after,” says one Berwick House resident.

The Berwick Bubble

As the pandemic spread through communities across the country, Berwick residents felt safe and connected inside their social bubble.

“For seniors living on their own, tasks like buying groceries, staying connected and maintaining physical and mental health have become increasingly daunting during the pandemic. But with independent living seniors have access to nutritious meals, activities and social connection without any increased risk,” says Lesley Sikorski with Berwick in Victoria.

Residents have stayed fit with daily Nordic Pole walks through Berwick Royal Oak’s beautiful gardens and jumping rope in the safety of their suites. They also hosted a physically distanced spin class fundraiser for the Heart & Stroke foundation.

“We have arts classes as well — painting Spanish Tiles, watercolour, and writing groups. There are lots of ways for residents to get creative,” King says. “We all planted seeds during Plant Week, and residents are still in competition to see whose plant grows the most!”

Independent, and part of the family

Worried about losing your independence when you move into a suite at Berwick? Sikorski talked to the ‘pros,’ some of Berwick House’s proud residents, to see how they felt about the transition.

“I still drive to visit friends and participate in the all the clubs I belong to. PLUS I’ve got a Berwick family that I can go to share a laugh — or a cry!” says one resident.

Berwick offers technology training and support to help residents stay connected to family and friends on video conferencing platforms like Zoom, and the community inside Berwick House adds extra companionship face-to-face.

“From the first day we felt that we were being welcomed into a family. That sounds like a cliché, but I really did feel that.”

Berwick House and Berwick Royal Oak are retirement communities that provides meals, housekeeping and engaging programs for Independent Living and Enhanced Living Services. Studio, one bedroom and two bedroom suites are still available. At Berwick House contact Linda Lord for more information or to make an appointment for a tour by calling 250-853-5492 or emailing berwickhouse@berwickrc.com. At Berwick Royal Oak reach out to Amanda Guignon at 250-419-4012 or berwickroyaloak@berwickrc.com. And don’t forget to follow Berwick House and Berwick Royal Oak on Instagram!

Seniorsseniors housing

 

Beauty surrounds you at Berwick Royal Oak. (Photo: Jo-Ann Richards)

Beauty surrounds you at Berwick Royal Oak. (Photo: Jo-Ann Richards)

Berwick House in Gordon Head offers safety, independence, and community.

Berwick House in Gordon Head offers safety, independence, and community.

Just Posted

Rachna Singh, MLA for Surrey-Green Timbers, is the Parliamentary Secretary for Anti-Racism Initiatives. (Photo courtesy of flickr.com/photos/bcgovphotos)
Oak Bay local Lachlan Kratz (red, middle) has signed with pro rugby team NOLO Gold in Louisiana. (Contributed photo)
Oak Bay local signs with pro rugby team

Lachlan Kratz at 21 is now NOLO Gold’s youngest member

A micro brewery is being eyed for Jordan River. However, the site where the brewery is proposed still needs to go through the rezoning process. (Black Press Media file)
Micro brewery proposed for Jordan River

Jordan River Brewing Company envisions to build wholesale, sit-in brewery along Highway 14

Traffic waits at the intersection of Highway 17 and Beacon Avenue. A study found failing levels of service at the intersection of Highway 17 and Sidney’s Beacon Avenue for multiple movements during morning peak traffic and for all left-moving traffic during afternoon peak traffic. (Wolf Depner/News Staff)
Province supports potential interim improvements to Sidney intersection

Province says interchange is the long-term plan for intersection of Beacon Avenue and Highway 17

Vancouver resident Beryl Pye was witness to a “concerning,” spontaneous dance party that spread throughout social groups at Kitsilano Beach on April 16. (Screen grab/Beryl Pye)
VIDEO: Dance party erupts at Vancouver’s Kitsilano Beach to the dismay of onlookers

‘It was a complete disregard for current COVID-19 public health orders,’ says Vancouver resident Beryl Pye

Lord Tweedsmuir’s Tremmel States-Jones jumps a player and the goal line to score a touchdown against the Kelowna Owls in 2019. The face of high school football, along with a majority of other high school sports, could significantly change if a new governance proposal is passed at the B.C. School Sports AGM May 1. (Malin Jordan)
Power struggle: New governance model proposed for B.C. high school sports

Most commissions are against the new model, but B.C. School Sports (BCSS) and its board is in favour

Russ Ball (left) and some of the team show off the specimen after they were able to remove it Friday. Photo supplied
Courtenay fossil hunter finds ancient turtle on local river

The specimen will now make its home at the Royal BC Museum

Pall Bearers carrying the coffin of the Duke of Edinburgh, followed by the Prince of Wales, left and Princess Anne, right, into St George’s Chapel for his funeral, at Windsor Castle, in Windsor, England, Saturday April 17, 2021. (Danny Lawson/Pool via AP)
Trudeau announces $200K donation to Duke of Edinburgh award as Prince Philip laid to rest

A tribute to the late prince’s ‘remarkable life and his selfless service,’ the Prime Minister said Saturday

B.C. homeowners are being urged to take steps to prepare for the possibility of a flood by moving equipment and other assets to higher ground. (J.R. Rardon)
‘Entire province faces risk’: B.C. citizens urged to prepare for above-average spring flooding

Larger-than-normal melting snowpack poses a threat to the province as warmer weather touches down

Vancouver-based Doubleview Gold Corp. is developing claims in an area north of Telegraph Creek that occupies an important place in Tahltan oral histories, said Chad Norman Day, president of the Tahltan Central Government. (THE CANADIAN PRESS/HO)
B.C. Indigenous nation opposes mineral exploration in culturally sensitive area

There’s “no way” the Tahltan would ever support a mine there, says Chad Norman Day, president of its central government

Stz’uminus Elder George Harris, Ladysmith Mayor Aaron Stone, and Stz’uminus Chief Roxanne Harris opened the ceremony. (Cole Schisler photo)
Symbolic red dresses rehung along B.C. highway after vandals tore them down

Leaders from Stz’uminus First Nation and the Town of Ladysmith hung new dresses on Sat. April 17

A Western toadlet crosses the centre line of Elk View Road in Chilliwack on Aug. 26, 2010. A tunnel underneath the road has since been installed to help them migrate cross the road. Saturday, April 24 is Save the Frogs Day. (Jenna Hauck/ Progress File)
Unofficial holidays: Here’s what people are celebrating for the week of April 18 to 24

Save the Frogs Day, Love Your Thighs Day and Scream Day are all coming up this week

The Attorney General’s Ministry says certain disputes may now be resolved through either a tribunal or the court system, pending its appeal of a B.C. Supreme Court decision that reduced the tribunal’s jurisdiction. (AP Photo/Mark J. Terrill)
Court of Appeal grants partial stay in ruling on B.C. auto injuries

B.C. trial lawyers challenged legislation brought in to cap minor injury awards and move smaller court disputes to the Civil Resolution Tribunal

Most Read