Celebrating strong seniors at Austin Harris Residence in Richmond
Mr. Mak says living at Austin Harris “makes me happy!” His life began again when he moved to the assisted housing facility four years ago.
Life was hard when Mrs. Mak developed dementia. Mr. Mak became her devoted caregiver. Years later, after Mrs. Mak moved to Long Term Care, he had a serious heart attack. The hospitalized senior became frail. Walking became difficult. He needed a walker to get around.
Mr. Mak focused on getting stronger and improving his mobility. Recovery took a long time. He began by walking everywhere. Bit by bit, he got stronger every day. Over time, he no longer used a walker or cane.
From fitness to art, classes bring joy to seniors
Today Mr. Mak enjoys long walks. He’s a firm believer in avoiding elevators. He takes the stairs and exercises daily. Often Mr. Mak joins Austin Harris Residence friends at exercise class. When he’s not working out, Mr. Mak enjoys painting calligraphy. A keen foodie, he savours dining at Austin Harris Residence.
People at Austin Harris Residence know how to have a good time. That’s especially true if food is involved. Mrs. Ma moved to Austin Harris Residence years ago after recovering from a stroke. Her favorite part of living there is the meals. “The food is so good!” says Mrs. Ma.
Eating well is key
Many residents, like retired chef and restaurant owner Ms. Chau, are keen foodies. Residents provide menu ideas to the kitchen too. One way is through the Wishing Tree.
Amy Pang, Manager of Community Services and S.U.C.C.E.S.S. team lead at Austin Harris Residence created the Wishing Tree.
“We had to get creative during the COVID-19 pandemic. We needed to provide residents with vital social times. We started with safe-distance outdoor activities. Then we put a rewards program in place. The program encourages residents to join exercise and other daily activities. Throughout, we followed safety protocols. We arranged Christmas and Lunar New Year safe-distance parties and hallway parades. The Wishing Tree is a way to find out what residents need,” says Amy.
Wishes can come true
Residents were invited to submit their wishes to the vibrant, hallway Wishing Tree. At first, everyone wished for Covid to end. Later on, Mrs. Ma wished for salmon dinner. Magically a salmon dinner appeared! Residents caught on. Later, spot prawn dreams came true. Joyous resident pictures of many happy, wished-for meals decorate the Wishing Tree.
Austin Harris Residence is a busy, fun place. The assisted living facility hums with dedicated events. Fierce Mahjong games to residents running their own programs, dances and more. Residents can pack their social calendars. There is always something to do. Join exercise, bingo, dance clubs, singing groups and shopping trips.
Together, housing partners support residents
BC Housing, S.U.C.C.E.S.S. Multi-Level Care Society, and other levels of government opened Austin Harris Residence in 2007. The two-story, 51-unit, affordable assisted living facility is in a garden setting.
Austin Harris Residence serves residents of all ethnicities. Staff speak English, Cantonese and Mandarin. Find out more about Austin Harris Residence and S.U.C.C.E.S.S. Multi-Level Care Society’s programs.
Learn about subsidized assisted-living from BC Housing’s Independent Living BC Program.
Since 2017, through BC Housing, more than 17,250 homes were completed for people across B.C. In addition, about 17,280 homes are underway in communities throughout the region.