BY ERIC NEILSON
Birkdale Place in Milton is more than just a place for seniors to reside.
On Friday the establishment held its fifth open house for its more than 100 residents. The open house is an opportunity for the residents, their friends and family and volunteers and employees to all get together and play games, hold discussions, have drinks and food as well as see what the living conditions are.
The event started at 1 p.m. sharp, so everybody could enjoy a nice lunch first. After that the families began to arrive, and the “party” had begun. Snacks were laid out and everyone had a chance to dig in. Residents were even given a chance to make their own delicious crepes. Wine and beer were also served, alongside water, cranberry juice and other tasty beverages. Women could also get a makeover at the hands of a volunteer makeup artist.
Shortly, people were on the floor doing some fancy dances, one of which was the tango, courtesy of a volunteer dance instructor. There was another volunteer who specialized in doing fun and creative caricatures for anyone who wanted to have some fun. Everyone had a chance to play some pool or even get a workout on in the exercise room, a class taught by recreational aide Ashlee Aleung.
“I have worked here since May 2018,” Aleung said, “so this is my first open house. I was reluctant at first to start because finding a recreation job after graduating is very difficult, but when I saw the opportunity, I gave it a shot. They seemed to like me, and I’ve been happy here ever since. We play games, and the first program that I implemented got chosen which was therapeutic painting. This allows the residents to use their creativity to express how they feel, and it really makes them feel better and everyone usually has a good time.”
Near the end of the night a few of the residents used the painting opportunity to wind down from a fun day.
Some of the other residents enjoyed playing some pool as well. “I needed some practice,” said Burke McNeil, a resident at Birkdale, “I haven’t played pool for a long time.” The day was a success and it ended just in time for the residents to have enjoy their dinner and play some Christmas card games.
“I love playing Christmas games, said resident Dorothy Smythe. “They always make me happy.” Everyone had a good time, and the anticipation for the next open house event has already started.