Friends of the Colonel Belcher Society

Current Needs

Quality of Life Program

Quality of Life programs allow residents and clients of Carewest to participate in activities that contribute to the enjoyment of living, social engagement and well-being.


Music Therapy Program

Music Therapy is similar to occupational and physical therapy. It consists of using music for therapeutic treatment to address physical, psychological, cognitive and/or social functioning. Because music is a powerful and non-threatening medium, unique outcomes are possible. These may include improved cognitive awareness and social interaction, decreased pain and increased comfort, enhanced dignity and quality of life.  Music therapy was introduced in all Long Term Care programs, Hospice and Geriatric Mental Health programs in 2005 with extremely positive reviews.

Art Partnership

The Carewest Art Partnership Program commenced in 1995 with five continuing care centres participating in the program. Currently all eight Carewest centres offer this weekly painting program. Funding for this program enables up to 20 residents from each Carewest site to participate by purchasing art supplies, and cover the cost of instruction. It includes three semesters per site which are ten weeks in duration, and one Annual Spring Art Show.

Woodworking Program

The Woodworking Program has been a part of the Carewest Dr. Vernon Fanning Centre since its opening in 1978. As an addition to Occupational Therapy services, the shop is a unique woodwork facility with adapted tools and equipment for use by individuals with a varying degree of physical disability. The program is currently serving 56 Fanning Centre residents, 12 Carewest residents from other sites, and 2 community clients with disabilities for a total of 70 visits per week.  The community clients attend the program on a fee for service basis. In addition to providing therapeutic programs to the residents, the program promotes socialization, increased self-worth, self-esteem, and a feeling of purpose. 

Horticulture Therapy

This program allows residents to participate year-round in planting and maintaining personal green spaces. Each spring the sites host a “First Planting” celebration. Residents, families and friends gather together in the garden spaces to plant seeds, and bedding out plants to enjoy outside in the warmer weather. Residents maintain their small garden spaces with the help of volunteers and horticulturists. In the winter months each site continues this program through the use of indoor greenhouses. This program is important for social interaction and physical activity, as well as the sense of pride taken in caring for these gardens and planters.

Leisure Activities/ Recreation Therapy

Recreation Therapy and Leisure activities are a major component of the Quality of Life program and can include receiving regular hair cuts, attending sporting events, and visiting churches or Legion meetings. Bus outings, Mother’s Day Teas, Father’s Day Brunches, and birthday parties are also important activities in the daily lives of residents and their families. 


Outdoor spaces are equipped with BBQ’s and patio furniture so that during the warmer months they can be used for recreational activities as much as possible. Occasionally, staff will hire entertainment such as a band or magician which adds to the experience for the residents.

Furniture in common areas, family rooms, and outdoor patios enhance the homelike environment. Residents and families gather to visit in these spaces and they require refurbishing from time to time.

Televisions are located in a variety of common areas and the current TVs have smaller screens and typically are set into a cabinet. Replacement of the televisions with larger, flatscreens would provide better quality viewing and take up less space. DVD’s also require replacing periodically for weekly ‘Popcorn and a Movie’ nights.  Nintendo Wii units and games are used for activities that promote socialization and exercise. Portable Computer Labs allow residents to connect with family and friends and catch up on current events.

Site Priorities:

Resident Room Refurbishing and Furniture Upgrades

Since Carewest Colonel Belcher opened its doors in 2003, it is estimated that more than 850 residents (primarily veterans) have lived there, and many others have received care through Day Support programs. With daily usage many of the rooms and furnishings are showing substantial wear and tear.

Recliner chairs in each of the twelve unit living rooms and in the Adult Day Support area are highly favored by the residents as they provide comfortable and safe seating. Leather recliners are preferred as they are easier to clean. Pub chairs at the entrances to each unit and wing back chairs throughout Colonel Belcher are also used extensively by residents and their visitors. Many of these chairs look very worn and require recovering or replacement.

With changing resident needs such as larger wheelchairs, some of the dining room tables are no longer suitable. Adjustable height dining room tables would make mealtime more comfortable for many of the residents. Bedside tables in the resident rooms are also showing the effects of daily use and require replacement. Funding is requested to replace those in greatest need: approximately 10 -15.

A lot of consideration was given when designing the resident rooms at Carewest Colonel Belcher. The goal was to create a personalized, homelike atmosphere. Some residents are most comfortable in their rooms and choose to spend a lot of time there. It is important that the rooms are inviting for new residents to move in as well. and rooms need to be refreshed on an ongoing basis in order to repair damages from wheelchairs, walkers, etc.

The craft room is extensively used for resident programs, resident council meetings and social activities. At times tables need to be moved out in order to make room for residents in wheelchairs. The current tables are very heavy to move and do not fold easily for storage. The therapy staff have requested 6 tables with tops that fold together so they can be stored in a compact space. The OSI clinic has also identified the need for new tables in their conference room as well.

Estimated Cost:    $100,000 for furnishings, tables, refurbishing.

All donations are tax deductible.

Thank you for your thoughtful consideration of these needs. For further information please contact the Team.