Innovative Photo Project Puts "Home" into Long-Term Care

Photo by Phillip Weiss

On May 2, 2013, the Bruyère Centre for Learning, Research and Innovation in Long-term Care (CLRI), in collaboration with Carleton Lodge, a City of Ottawa long-term care home, co-hosted an innovative photography exhibit called Welcome to our Home: Long-term care through the lens of the residents.

The event showcased photos taken by five Carleton Lodge residents depicting what home in a long-term care residence means to them. Subjects of the photos ranged from the nearby Rideau River and its wildlife, to photos of fellow Lodge residents and personal mementos. The event had a true photography exhibit feel, with attendees treated to live music and a selection of tasty hors d’oeuvres.

Resident and artist Philip Weiss moved to Carleton Lodge with his wife, Nancy, in 2006 when her Alzheimer’s disease had progressed too far for him to care for her on his own. Speaking of the Lodge, Mr. Weiss said “Our home is located along the Rideau River. It is lined with beautiful trees and wild flowers. In good weather, I used to wheel my wife the length of the road and back. I continue to enjoy the walk on my own.”

“Long-term care homes are a key part of our community. We want to ensure residents are safe and comfortable, and that they experience the high quality of care they deserve,” said guest speaker Mayor Jim Watson. “Although residents are no longer able to live independently on their own, it’s important for them to still feel at home.”

Olga Bugiel and her husband immigrated to Canada from Germany in 1961 and lived in the same house in Nepean until she moved to Carleton Lodge in 2009. “Leaving my house in Nepean was harder than leaving Germany because of my beautiful backyard. But I have to say, it is much better than I thought it would be. Everybody is so nice and tries to make us feel at home,” said Mrs. Bugiel.

Doug Morden’s photographs reminisced on his long military career, along with photos taken of the scenery around the lodge. “The geese around the Lodge remind me of my time in Regina when I used to go duck hunting in Prince Albert,” said Mr. Morden.

Also in attendance at the event was City Councillor Jan Harder, who thanked the residents for sharing their photographic talents with the community and for providing a snapshot into their lives.

“This project contributes greatly to our understanding of what health, well-being and quality-of-care mean to residents," said Dr. Peter Walker, CEO and Scientific Director of the Bruyère Research Institute. “We are honoured that these insights are being openly shared with us and privileged that we can use research tools to connect residents with the community.”

The contributions of the two other artists, Roland Brenning (1928-2012) and Vilma Reid (1915‑2012), were fondly remembered by residents, staff and guests.

By Courtney Pelley and Hilary Ramsay, Bruyère Research Institute 

The Bruyère Centre for Learning, Research and Innovation in Long-Term Care (the Bruyère CLRI) is one of three CLRIs supported through funding from the Government of Ontario. The other two CLRIs are Baycrest, in Toronto, and Schlegel, in Waterloo.

Operated by Bruyère Research Institute, the Bruyère CLRI provides a forum for researchers, faculty, caregivers, government and policymakers to collaborate on projects designed to build knowledge and facilitate innovative knowledge exchange in the Champlain Local Health Integration Network and provincially. The Bruyère CLRI projects and themes have been developed to contribute to capacity planning and capacity building for the LTC sector as a whole, and to improving the quality of life of persons who require LTC.

Carleton Lodge is one of four non-profit long-term care homes owned and operated by the City of Ottawa.  The original home was built in 1959, and replaced with a new Carleton Lodge in 1989.  It is home to 160 residents and is located on the Rideau River.

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