Those gals are our wonderful staff...

Our wonderful staff at Prairie Valley Lodge

Have you checked out our new video in the Video Gallery titled “We Love You Jeanie”? Jean speaks about her favourite part of the week being her interaction with “those gals” who clearly delight her.

“Those gals”, are our wonderful staff.

Owing to the very small and intimate size of our facility, our staff are able to communicate extensively and build relationships with each resident.

Familiar faces, predictable routine, diligent care and a family style environment all combine to ensure a resident feels safe, confident, loved and valued.

The way to a seniors heart is through their stomach

The way to a seniors heart is through their stomach. Truth.

Good food, lovingly prepared, and carefully presented, (combined with conscientious, nurturing care, and attention to detail) is the gateway to a seniors heart. 

A new resident arrived 6 months ago from a larger local facility. She was fearful, she didn’t smile often and she had not been interested in food for many months. Today, this lady has blossomed into a loving and cheerful sweetheart, who we delight in making smile. We know that her nutrition has played a significant part in her new found happiness as her eyes light up when meals are served to her and this is the time when she will communicate the most with those around her.

We serve our food in a comfortable and peaceful environment. Our dining tables are set up appropriately and attractively for each meal. No tricky-to-open packets of crackers, or sachets of condiments or cartons of juice will be found on our dining table during meal times. Meal times are never rushed affairs. All of our meals are served in a dignified and gentle family style format appropriate for each individual resident. A resident may take as long as necessary to eat their meal, and assistance is always at hand. Dietary restrictions and modifications are respected diligently and food texture is modified according to individual dietary requirements. 

One meal which brings back fond memories for many people, is Roast Beef which is not complete of course without traditional Yorkshire Pudding. And yes the Yorkshire Pudding is home made as well. Topped off with a delicious beef-au-jus, our meals are part of what makes each of us so proud to be on the Prairie Valley Lodge team.

Happiness and Food are Closely Connected

scones, devonshire cream and jam

We take great care and pride in making home-cooked nutritious and delicious meals in our family style kitchen. Taste and presentation is of highest important to us to ensure we provide our residents pleasure and satisfaction in terms of food and nutrition.

In order to achieve this we buy the best quality menu items possible in our local area surrounding Summerland. We try to shop locally and we buy organic as much as possible. We are blessed to be surrounded by organic farms and orchards, where we source our fruits and vegetables in season. LocalMotive deliver us a box of local, organic fruits and vegetables weekly from spring to fall, and we supplement this with visits to our local Summerland Farmers Market on a Tuesday and Sunday morning.

We have a wonderful organic meat source in Summerland - Ogopogo meats, who provide us with high quality organic meats whenever possible. It is a priority to make our soups with homemade stock, and serve various breads, baked daily.

Our residents are actively included in all aspects of our food service and, consequently their nutrition. Their input and opinion is discussed at every meal, every day. That way we know if an item on the menu is no longer a favourite, we can plan accordingly.

Our residents not only see the groceries coming into the home, they often help bring them in and help put them away. On occasion we will prepare a resident’s favourite family recipe, and they participate in the organization and preparation.

Our philosophy regarding our meal service is rooted in old fashioned family values. Enjoying each others company, taking an interest in the food, using traditional familiar recipes, and high quality ingredients. All residents can see the preparation of the food in our family style kitchen, and the anticipation of the meal is heightened by the delicious aroma of home cooking, and discussions with the staff about the meal being prepared. This encourages a senior person, whose senses may be in decline to look forward to each meal, and consider each meal time a small celebration. One where the home baked fresh bread is taken directly to the table so residents can savour the warmth and aroma, before the bread is sliced and buttered.

The happy smile on our resident Dorothy’s face says it all. (She is waiting for the fresh baked bread and the home made cookies - true story).

Ask about the quality of food in your prospective care home

If you are looking for a care home for a family member it is a good idea to ask about the nutritional value of the meals. For example; are the major food groups represented? Are meals low in salt and unhealthy fats? Are they cooked from scratch and are they fresh ingredients rather than from a can? Will a residents personal preferences be taken into consideration at every meal?

Our daily meal budgets are among the highest in the province as we know the value of making sure our residents are fed well and live a happier and healthier lifestyle at Prairie Valley Lodge.

Valentine's Day is Appreciation Day at Prairie Valley Lodge

Valentine's day is Appreciation day at Prairie Valley Lodge. The room was aglow on February 14th as we came together over a classic High Tea to celebrate, well...each other. The care unfolded with the kindness of smiles, bouquets of flowers, vivacious homemade cupcakes, curled cucumber, fine china, and special handmade cards by children from both Veterans Affairs and the Montessori School across from the lodge. Our lovely residents really felt they were appreciated. Love found us here and may Love find you wherever you may be. 

Music as enjoyment and therapy

Jean jiving

Jean jiving

Music is a powerful experience and has many emotional effects. At Prairie Valley Lodge we use music as a positive therapy, for all of us, staff and residents alike. Music encourages happy thoughts, rekindles memories, it can shift negative thinking patterns, and promotes positive social interactions between all of us, young and old. Every day we sing along to our favourite tunes as we go about our daily tasks. Often we want to dance and sometimes...well sometimes it even makes us cry.

We have frequent visits from musicians at the Lodge. A couple of weeks ago Aaron Loewen came by and his gypsy jazz had Jean smiling and jiving. It reminded her of when she was a child in the 1920's and her parents would move the furniture in the living room out of the way and dance the Charleston...she loved it!

Earlier this week the Youth Choir from the West Kelowna Evangelical Baptist church came to sing for us...all 18 of them! One of our residents – Mary was smiling through her tears... she recounted stories of her childhood when her parents had a piano and they took turns teaching her how to play. We spoke afterwards about "happy tears “… how it is our feelings that make us human. A life well lived is full of emotion. So let's keep laughing, singing, dancing and crying through our tears.

Our thanks to the Youth Choir for their inspirational voices. We look forward to welcoming them back at Easter! In the meantime… here's to the music that touches us and here's to all the memories!

Written by Christina Hughes

Tiny Tots With Their Eyes All Aglow...

With less than two weeks to go before Christmas every day becomes a little more charged with excitement. We’ve had carolers, magicians, choirs and musicians and the lodge is aglow with decorations and warm feelings.

Today, a window on the world of little people as we welcomed a tiny troop of reindeer from the Montessori school across the street. How very fortunate we are to be part of such a strong and sharing community!

Here at Prairie Valley Lodge, people of all ages can drop in simply because we are neighbors and we care about one another. And speaking of welcome we would like to extend a warm welcome to the newest member of our family, Edith.

Here's to many more happy afternoons with friends!

Written by Christina Hughes

Apple Cinnamon Cookies



We had not made our Apple Cinnamon Cookies for a very long time. First task was a quick trip to our local Apple Barn where we buy our apples.

Jean was a business owner in the food service industry. She likes things organized and done correctly. She often has really good input into day to day events - and she is a natural at being in charge.  Jean reads the recipe instructions and ensures everyone knows what they are doing.

Johanna is our resident baker and home maker. Under Jean's instructions she peeled the apples and prepared the batter. 

They smelt divine while they were baking and EVERYONE helped to eat them .



1 cup butter or margarine

1 1/2 cups white sugar

2 medium juicy apples peeled and grated. (If apples are more dry than juicy add 1 - 2 tbsp milk)

4 cups flour

2 tsp baking powder

1 1/2 tsp baking soda

1 tsp salt

2 tsp vanilla


1/2 cup sugar 

2 1/2 tbsp cinnamon


Mix the first 8 ingredients together well. Shape into balls and roll in the sugar/cinnamon mix. Press down with a fork. Bake 12 mins @ 375 degrees F.

Starting Our Prairie Valley Lodge Kitchen Garden

This week we were finally blessed with some blue skies and sunshine. We have planned and purchased what we will grow this year, and have been waiting patiently to get outside and plant our kitchen garden. 

We have lettuce, tomatoes, sweet peppers, chives, cucumbers, pea's, strawberries and herbs. In our back yard we have raspberries and grapes. 

We also had the pleasure of a four legged visitor who was curious to see what we were doing.

The Importance of Self Care

A quiet moment on Lake Okanagan

Sometimes we need alone time. Time for our brains to process events. Time for our hearts to heal, and time for our souls to seek sanctuary and peace. 

Today (almost) every member of our home attended a community lunch event. They enjoyed a soup lunch, dessert, and entertainment from Grade 2 students. It was social, vibrant and noisy. It delighted our visiting household members.

However one member of our household just didn't feel up to that kind of activity. It just did not suit her mood. So instead, she and a caregiver packed up their lunch and went to Sun Oka Beach.  It was a beautiful day, they walked the lakeshore, wondered at the miracles of nature and found the serenity that they were both looking for. 

The day was a success for everyone.

A very special blanket

This is a story about a blanket, inspired by the selfless act of Joe Hardwick’s family giving a lovely blanket to Prairie Valley Lodge.

A blanket is usually the first item of the physical world with which a child comes in contact. It is also often the last when leaving.

When someone you love is dying, the last thing you want others telling you is “the best you can do now, is make them comfortable.” It implies there is no hope – this person is really leaving you forever.

Coming to grips with losing someone close is one of the most difficult things we face. Letting go is the only peaceful solution but is so difficult when all our lives we fight to overcome the multitude of trials that life throws at us. This one seems insurmountable. It’s the Everest of emotions dealing with the impending death of a loved one. And everyone dies in a different way. But one thing that seems consistent is that it’s a roller coaster ride of emotions with a few false hopes thrown in.  

At a recent dinner party of writers, I told the guests about a story I was working on for my clients; Prairie Valley Lodge. One of the lodge residents, Joe Hardwick, originally from High River, died the previous year at the age of 101. In appreciation to the owners and staff of the lodge, Joe's daughters made them a beautiful quilt, which is now the special palliative care blanket at Prairie Valley Lodge.

I asked the dinner guests if they had any stories about special blankets. Barry told us about “the Blanket Song”, written by Canadian singer, Karla Anderson. The singer’s best friends’ daughter had died - she was 21 years old.

Karla talks about the experience on a YouTube video: “There was nothing I could do, you have to let people go into their grief.” Such beautiful lyrics “What can I do but bring a blanket to you…. to wrap around your shoulders… or put upon your knees…. try to keep the cold away…. keep your heart from turning blue… what else can I do… but bring a blanket for you.”  

Barry sought out words to comfort him when his own mother was dying which is when he came across the “Blanket Song”. Time smooths the sharp edges of the experience and he remembers his mother with softness and love.

I too have a blanket story. I found a special blanket for my father at a Trout Creek garage sale. It was a Black Watch tartan and I knew that Dad being Scottish would appreciate it. It was 100% wool and lovely and warm. Only a few months after that gift of the blanket, my father was dying. Sometimes he would reel in and out of a semi conscious state - and his first question when he came back was always - where’s my blanket? Somehow it became a great comfort to him.

The best thing for your dying loved one is to just sit with them, hold their hand and listen if they feel like talking. In the end it turns out that truly the best advice is “make them comfortable.” It helps to have a special blanket.

As the Hardwick family wrote in Joe’s obituary “Joe passed away peacefully”. And now the lovely blanket given by his family, will help others feel comfortable as they leave this world.


Andys Animal Acres

Andy's Animal Acres from Naramata have been visiting us on our patio.

In April we had three very young lambs visit. 

This month Susie Q and Rascal, two orphaned kid goats came for a visit. Rascal was exactly that. He was determined to get into the house, eat all the plants and young vegetables and managed to climb into one of the residents' walker basket.

Dewey also came along for the visit. Dewey is a Guinea Pig. He was twice the age of most other Guinea Pigs so he was very special. He enjoyed sitting on the residents laps and basking in their attention and the warm sunshine. He was quite content to be hand fed a large carrot and some water.

Andy's Animal Acres contacted us shortly after this visit to let us know that Dewey had passed on. We were very grateful that we had got to enjoy Dewey's company the week before, and we appreciate Andy's time and effort bringing these little critters to visit with us. 

Andy does a fantastic job looking after her animals. She is very knowledgeable and informative and we learn a lot when she visits. We highly recommend a visit to her farm in Naramata to meet the animals and see the work she does.

And of course lunch at one of the local wineries afterwards is a must.


Gone riding. Be back whenever.

Never regret anything that makes you smile.   

Never regret anything that makes you smile.


Mothers Day is always a big day at Prairie Valley Lodge.

We always considered that we did a bang up job on the Mothers Day celebrations.

But this year Lois had other idea’s, and she rocked Mothers Day like no other.

It was a sunny and warm day with a stiff breeze.

Lois geared up in her shades, a leather jacket, pink scarf and helmet and hopped on the back of her son Geoff’s, Harley Davidson Motorcycle for a Mothers Day ride around Summerland.

We were all so impressed.

This Biker Mom cannot stop talking about her Mothers Day Harley ride.

We think her smile says it all. 

Joan's Garden.

Costco are selling these raised planters this year. It has a water monitor to ensure the plants are sufficiently watered. It is a perfect height for mobility impaired or wheelchair gardeners, and our residents are enjoying this small planter so much that we wish we had bought several more.

Joan is our resident gardener. She feeds, waters and nurtures the flowers and her small vegetable garden. She has plenty of willing assistants all of whom are eager to lend a hand. We have had a very warm spring and the residents have been fascinated by the speed with which the tiny seedlings have grown and flourished. This little garden is showered with hours of attention 

Joan planted Lettuce, Red Cabbage, Parsley, Chives, Tomatoes, Strawberries and Nasturtiums. We are looking forward to the display of Nasturtiums and Joan is especially excited to use the flowers in her salads. 

We will keep you posted with the progress of Joan's small garden.



Table for 11 at 1:30...

Have you ever taken a group of seniors out for coffee? It has its own set of challenges but huge rewards at the same time. One of the joys of such an adventure is that you gain an appreciation for how vital those in their senior years can still be and this includes patients with dementia or Alzheimer's.

Despite parking issues and torrential downpours... everyone enjoyed themselves yesterday at the Beanery Café in Summerland. When we returned to the lodge there were big smiles all round.

Happy Valentines Day!

Happy Valentines Day 2015. The sun is shining in Summerland and we are soaking up the rays. We have waited patiently throughout the past few months for a day like today. We have been for a short walk in the neighbourhood, and are now enjoying coffee and Valentines cookies (which we just baked this morning).

Prairie Valley Lodge consists of all ground floor rooms. We feel this is important to providing quality of life to our seniors. It allows for more independent choices. Today is a perfect example. The sun came out. A few of our residents had a chat and made a choice. They planned for a short walk followed by coffee on the patio. They achieved this with support from staff. The small details are important in the Household Model of Care, and we strive daily to achieve this lifestyle for our residents.

Safety in (small) numbers

We have all heard the tragic stories in the news over the past year. Seniors in large government funded care facilities being fatally attacked by a fellow resident. While this may never be avoided due to the unpredictable nature of dementia and the budgets involved in large government funded long term care facilities, every possible preventative measure is diligently taken by each facility and the IHA Licensing office.

At Prairie Valley Lodge we are a Private Pay only facility. This means that we do not have to admit anyone and everyone to our facility. We carefully screen prospective clients to ensure we do not admit a resident with aggressive or violent behaviours and make every effort to ensure that new residents will be a suitable match with our existing clients.

Our home is not a “Locked Unit”, this means that the residents accepted into our care are not a risk to one another. Our biggest advantage is our size and management flexibility. We only take a maximum of 9 residents. This maximum is a good number, it allows for plenty of social activity and stimulation within the home and out in the community, but is also small enough to make the residents feel safe and secure and that they are residing in a private environment. We try to remove any institutional atmosphere that may occur with communal living and strive to form personal relationships with our residents. Eventually we know their routine so well that we can be pro-active and meet their needs before they even know a need exists.

Should a resident require extra attention for any reason we have the nursing staff and the flexibility to increase our staff ratio to suit the circumstances. Our staff are all professionally trained and qualified. We operate short shifts to ensure we do not become tired and complacent.

The physical size and layout of the facility was purpose-built for comfort and safety considerations for the resident. We do not have long hallways in which a confused senior may become lost and enter the wrong room. A resident only has to sneeze in their room and we are aware that they may need a Kleenex. Likewise, should a resident choose to exit their room for some home comfort and companionship, as soon as they open their door they will find a familiar face, or a familiar face will find them.

While no community situation will ever be perfect, it is our intention to provide the best care possible, provide a safe and nurturing home style environment, know our residents well and ensure their safety and well-being at all times in order to deliver the maximum quality of life possible.

Raise your coffee cup in support of the Alzheimer Society in BC

On Tuesday October 14 at 10am we will be hosting a coffee morning in support of those who suffer dementia, and to raise awareness for the Alzheimer Society of B.C.  Local candidates for council will be dropping by to introduce themselves and chat to our residents. Some of our seniors are still very much engaged in the community, and intend to participate in the Municipal Elections.

Our own vision for Summerland is to become a dementia friendly community. One where our seniors feel safe and supported, and where the very best quality of life can be attained. We believe it is possible, and that this beautiful family-friendly town already has a head start with our fantastic local amenities and caring culture of the citizens.

If you are in Summerland on Tuesday we hope to see you for coffee.

For more information on dementia-friendly communities see the Alzheimer Society of BC's page on this topic.

The importance of ice cream

We just completed our bi-annual Resident Satisfaction Food Survey. It is an important nutritional tool that teaches us a great deal about our residents likes and dislikes and what is working on our menu and what is not.

It was brought to our attention that ice-cream really works very well for our residents. Any flavour, any style. But that given the choice, the best way to enjoy ice cream according to the Resident Satisfaction Survey is on a warm, sunny day at Summerland Sweets.