Taking a walk through Memory Lane

The opening of Memory Lane, an outdoor space specifically dedicated to memory care residents at Royal Oak, and the volunteers and donors that helped make it possible were celebrated last Thursday evening. The garden is fenced in, allowing residents the opportunity to go outside and get some fresh air on their own terms, or to participate in organized outdoor activities. Ashli Barrett / Lacombe Globe

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Memory care residents at Lacombe’s Royal Oak Village now can enjoy the outdoors at their leisure with the opening of an outdoor courtyard.

Dubbed ‘Memory Lane,’ the courtyard was a brain child of the Royal Oak Family Council who were looking for ways to better the quality of life for the residents who previously had limited outdoor access as some may have wandered away from home.

It officially began last spring with the installation of the fence. This year a sidewalk was added, and residents are now able to enjoy it, and the outdoors, to their full extent.

“It’s so important because this allows them choice. They can go outside all by themselves without any supervision,” said Family Council Chair Fran Kimmel.

“Being able to wander outside, enjoy the fresh air, water the flowers, dig in the dirt….play a game of lawn bowling or croquet is good for us at any age and that’s exactly what our residents are now able to do.”

Royal Oak Family Council Chair Fran Kimmel was in attendance at a special event Thursday thanking donors for their support in creating “Memory Lane,” an outdoor courtyard for their memory care residents. Ashli Barrett / Lacombe Globe

The opening of the outdoor courtyard was culminated last Thursday evening with a special event thanking the donors and volunteers who made the project possible.

In total, Kimmel pegs the project at costing close to $30,000 if it weren’t for the donors, who donated not only their time, but concrete for the sidewalk, gravel for the underlay, sod, and a way to bring those items to the courtyard for installation.

They’re not quite finished either.

There are plans in the works to increase shade with more trees coming in for next year, and to continue to add and improve over the next few years.

So far, however, they believe it’s a hit.

“A lot of our residents can’t give feedback verbally, but we see a lot of people go in and out all day long, so that’s a good sign,” said Kimmel. “It’s a positive addition, for sure.”

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