How Does Their Garden Grow?

How Does Their Garden Grow?

By: Pat Goyeche

Abbotsford Seniors Centre is hosting a unique and certainly beautiful fundraiser on Saturday June 22nd from 12:00 pm – 4:00 pm.  This members-driven fundraiser offers a tour of eight magnificent local gardens.

The eight gardens on the tour represent the efforts of Abbotsford member gardeners in the Glebe, Old Ottawa South and Old Ottawa East, and at Lansdowne. Tour participants will have the opportunity to ask questions, learn and get inspiration from experienced gardeners with a variety of styles who have practical advice to offer about what grows well in our zone and in an urban setting.

You can purchase tickets for $25 over the telephone or in person at Abbotsford Seniors Centre Monday – Friday from 8:30 am – 4:30 pm.  Drop in at 950 Bank Street (the old stone house) or telephone us at 613-230-5730.  Have your Visa or MasterCard handy.

Check out these tantalizing descriptions of the gardens on the tour, to get your green thumb itching. And then be sure to pick up your ticket(s).

Organized disorder

The first garden, situated on a deep 165-foot lot, has been continuously maintained by the owner for 52 years. It has evolved over the decades from the shade of elms to full sun and vegetable plots, and then back to shade. The front garden is densely planted with full sun flowers and the back is an oasis of colourful shade perennials and annuals in containers. It is characterized by “organized disorder” and the gardener has incorporated many plants given by friends over the years. 

Native plants, flowers, shrubs and vegetables

Next, fittingly behind the Horticultural Building at Lansdowne, is a demonstration garden consisting of 25 raised beds of corten steel. The landscape designer, an Abbotsford member, will lead you through this garden and describe the themes of the various beds. She will share what has worked well in the last nine years since the original installation. Seven of the beds are planted with native plants of importance to the Algonquin people of the region. Other beds feature perennial and annual flowers grown together with shrubs and vegetables. You will learn about a variety of plants that grow in containers as well as the challenges and the benefits of integrating food and flowers in our plantings to optimize the benefits to pollinators.

Wild thing

Mine is a wild-ish shade garden.  Over my stewardship, it lost a venerable silver maple in an ice storm and been surrounded by infills.   I’ve planted many, many birches for privacy and summer cooling.  Wildlife loves the wee still pond.  Pampered plants are native woodland, including a big trillium patch. 

Particularly pleasant

Our next garden is all about enthusiasm for the diversity of leaf and flower forms. It has changing displays about every 10 days from April to November. Layers of colour and shape make up a tapestry of wild beauty. You move from a small sunny front garden packed with plants, down what was once a shared drive, but is now a fabulous pebbled path with flower beds on each side, to a rear garden that is a riot of colour and volume. After 25 years, the gardener no longer needs to manage her perennials, they just enjoy themselves and are supplemented by yearly gifts from other gardeners and must have nursery finds. 

Downsizing but blooming beauty

For our next gardener, downsizing their garden twelve years ago was one of the hardest parts of moving to a new home. From having a quarter of an acre to play in, it was quite a jolt to go to one small arc of earth around a concrete patio, (whilst a bit of a relief to aching bones). Retrieving small clumps of all the gardener’s favourite perennials, they transplanted them to a new garden very quickly that fall and crossed their fingers that the plants would survive. Some did and some didn’t. Eventually, all of them got moved around as the gardener gained new knowledge of the miniature patches of sun and shade in the new garden. Over the past twelve years they have nurtured a tiny garden that pretty much looks after itself with just enough soil to get a gardener’s hands dirty and enough tiny spaces to fill to justify visits to garden centres in the spring. And it is much loved!

The grass isn’t greener but the perennials are brilliant

This front yard garden was recently planted with an assortment of perennials and a wide variety of ornamental grasses to replace a front lawn. The gardener designed this partly-shaded space using a colour palette of chartreuse, steely blue, reds and greens. It features a Japanese lilac tree along with a Bloodgood maple. In the backyard of this home an inviting curved pathway leads you though a cottage style garden showing how much serenity can be achieved in a tiny garden using a large variety of shade loving perennials. It is further enlivened by lots of garden art. Don’t miss the shed featuring a green roof.

Round and round the garden

This small garden is neatly laid out on a small city lot. It is reminiscent of a formal English garden with roses, peonies, clematis and hydrangeas. It features a number of compact and columnar tresses, well-suited for a small urban site. A number of bird baths dot the garden and a small deck fountain blocks out city noise.

Whimsy and beauty combined

Our final garden, on a double lot, features whimsical containers such as a log train planted yearly with annuals. It abounds with perennials for both sun and shade. The collection expands annually and includes grasses, bleeding hearts, tradescantia, ferns, sedum, nine bark, tiger eye sumac and more.

What an inspiring, relaxing and beauty-filled way to spend a Saturday afternoon. You won’t want to miss this splendid opportunity. And you will be supporting Abbotsford at the same time!

Abbotsford Seniors Centre of The Glebe Centre Inc. is a charitable, not-for-profit, organization which includes a 254 bed long term care home.  Find out more about our services and programming by dropping by 950 Bank Street (the old stone house) Mon – Fri 8:30 am – 4:30 pm, telephoning 613-230-5730 or by checking out all The Glebe Centre facilities and seniors services on our website

Looking forward and being appreciative

By Pat Goyeche

May April showers indeed bring May flowers.  Our volunteer gardeners are hoping for lots of April showers to feed the beautiful flower beds that surround Abbotsford Seniors Centre.

The tremendous efforts of our main volunteer gardener and of the many volunteers who keep Abbotsford thriving and surviving were celebrated this month.  Staff, members and clients were encouraged to nourish and thank our 150 strong Abbotsford volunteers throughout the month of April as part of National Volunteer Month.

Abbotsford flourishes in no small part due to our tireless volunteers who drive clients to medical appointments, support our Day Programing (Luncheon Club & Dementia Day Program), facilitate clubs and instruct classes, serve on the Members’ Council, sort, price and sell donations for fundraising initiatives, serve lunches, create and sell high quality crafts and homemade teddy bears, greet members and clients at reception, tend our gardens, and support our small staff team in innumerable ways.

Spring programming began the second week of April with a full complement of fitness classes for the varied levels and needs of our 650 strong membership.  Art classes and workshops, along with language classes, memoir writing, and several weekly clubs, have kept the centre buzzing with activity.

We continue to face financial challenges at Abbotsford Seniors Centre, as the need for our in-community seniors programming increases, beyond our resources. The boomers are blooming, keeping fit, connected, and supported as they age and we aim to support them through our programming and support services at Abbotsford.  We have been acting in this role since 1975!

Abbotsford has never been fully funded, but we are mandated by our provincial funders to be accessible and affordable to the general population of adults 55 +, which is of course the mission that inspires us all. We are only able to continue to deliver our programming through the support of community, volunteers and dedicated staff. 

Our major fundraiser coincides with the Great Glebe Garage Sale, to be held this year on Saturday May 25th.  We will be selling both indoors and outdoors. On offer will be the enormous range of donated goods that has been accumulated, sorted and priced by our volunteers.  You will see 70 of our finest volunteers working up to and on that day, all with the goal of helping Abbotsford meet its financial needs.

How can you help?  Donate your slightly used, but still wonderful, things to Abbotsford. We are open Monday through Friday during regular business hours. We gladly accept flea market items, jewelry and what we lovingly term ‘elegant treasures’.  If you are downsizing or spring cleaning, please think of us. We accept, price and sell items all year round in our nearly-new shop as part of our fundraising, but we are particularly in need of goods to sell at this time of year.

Thank you to the community of Abbotsford members, clients and volunteers who do so much to keep Abbotsford thriving.  Whether you donate goods, time or money, it all adds up to keeping our community strong.

We are also reaching out to the larger community to support our fundraising endeavors by becoming a sponsor of our event, donating goods for us to sell, or committing to be a monthly donation. All of those contributions help support seniors in our community.  We all play a role in supporting our elders as they age where they live.

Abbotsford is your Seniors Active Living Centre.  We are the community programs of The Glebe Centre Inc., a charitable, not-for-profit, organization which includes a 254 bed long term care home.  Find out more about our services by dropping by 950 Bank Street (the old stone house) Mon- Fri 9-4 pm, telephoning 613-230-5730 or by checking out all of The Glebe Centre facilities and community programs on our website

Spring has been spotted at Abbotsford Seniors Centre

By Pat Goyeche

Early bird spring has brought the Canadian geese home early and the ‘snow birds’ have landed!

Everyone is ‘flocking back’ to Abbotsford for a taste of spring programming and we won’t disappoint. 

A recent survey of our membership asked for feedback on programming ideas and one dominant ask was for more art classes and workshops. This spring, we have added five new workshop of one afternoon each.  Members will bring home completed projects in block printing, silk-screening, mini textured landscape painting, tulips painted on silk, and watercolour on plexiglass and DuraLar.  These will be wonderful keepsakes for the artist or lovely gifts for friends and family. 

We also have watercolour, drawing and an expressive portraits class on our spring menu.  Members will be able to join pottery classes, facilitated bring-you-own art project sessions, as well as club time, where members work on projects with fellow members.  Our potters continue to enjoy studio time under the guidance of Andrina Cox.

Abbotsford has an extraordinarily creative bunch of volunteers; our craft group participants have swelled and the group that makes handmade teddy bears is bursting at the seams.  These two groups have been creating and fundraising for Abbotsford since the mid 1970’s.  Each year they create unique crafts to sell in our ‘nearly new’ shop with seasonal offerings as well as at our craft fair on the last Friday of November each year.

If you are looking for something special for a baby/child or friend, you should stop in at Abbotsford during our hours of operation Monday – Friday from 8:30 am – 4:30 pm.  We have gently used ladies clothing, books, cards, puzzles, jewelry, and many ‘white elephant’ items for sale daily.  We also stock brand new, hand made teddy bears and seasonal craft items that our talented volunteers create.

Fresh air brings fresh starts.  Get started by getting fit when you join one of our many exercise programs.  We have different levels for different levels of participation.  You will be challenged no matter the fitness level.  We also continue to offer some programming virtually over Zoom.

Do you play pool or ping pong and are looking for an opportunity to play? We have that covered.   Are you keen to play Bridge?  Yes, we have that too.   Make your move, come on over and see what you have been missing out on!

Abbotsford Seniors Centre is for Adults 55+.  It houses the community programs of The Glebe Centre Inc., a charitable, not-for-profit, organization which includes a 254 bed long term care home.  Find out more about our services by telephoning 613-230-5730 during regular business hours or by checking out all of The Glebe Centre facilities and community programs on our website  See Abbotsford Seniors Centre’s drop down menu for a comprehensive overview of our services and our current program guide.

Day Away Programming at Abbotsford

Day Away Programming at Abbotsford

By Julie Ireton

Two mornings a week, David and Aggi Hutton arrive to Abbotsford Seniors Centre, to the Day Away program for dementia clients. 

Aggi, David’s bride of 53 years, stays for the activities and lunch, allowing David some time to do groceries, errands and chores before he picks her up at 3 pm. 

“Sometimes I’m exhausted and I’ll sleep for part of that time,” laughed David who is Aggi’s primary caregiver as well as the cook and cleaner in their Glebe home. 

The Day Away program at Abbotsford Seniors Centre provides a safe, familiar environment for people with early to mid stage dementia and Alzheimer’s disease, while giving their caregivers some much needed respite.

The program, offered to those who live in their own homes or in a retirement residence, runs from noon to 3 pm on Thursdays and 9:30 to 3 pm on Wednesdays and Fridays. 

Three staff members, along with two or three regular volunteers, guide the 12 clients through intellectual, physical and social activities throughout the day. 

“The activities run for about 45 to 50 minutes, considering their shorter attention spans and we change rooms after each activity so they get a change of scenery,” said Cassandra Ford, program facilitator. 

“We offer seated exercise programs, games such as headline hunter, singing, and crosswords. We try to give structure to the day so there are similar activities, there’s a routine and they know what to expect.” 

Each of these days, participants all get a hot meal which includes soup and a main course made in the Glebe Centre’s kitchen. 

“The best part is making a connection with the client, even if it’s brief, and seeing their faces light up when they’re able to contribute,” said Ford. “But the worst part is because you see them every week, you recognize the changes brought by this progressive disease.”

Aggi Hutton, a former intensive care nurse, gradually started to show signs of dementia a few years ago. 

Her husband says it’s now quite pronounced and she can no longer be left on her own. 

“She’s still very cheerful and fun to be with, but she just doesn’t know what happened five minutes ago,” said David. “The program gives her lots of stimulation, more than I can give her, and it gives me time to do other things.” 

She never hesitates to head to Abbotsford, the senior’s centre across from Lansdowne Park.

“She loves it there. The staff are well organized and the program runs like clockwork,” he said.

There were funding cuts to the Day Away program in the spring of 2023, according to Karen Anne Blakely, director of community programs at Abbotsford.

“So we’re creative with the money we still have,” she said. “We cut back on one day of programming and ended virtual programming in September.” 

The catchment area includes the neighbourhoods of the Glebe, the Glebe Annex, Old Ottawa East, Old Ottawa South, Riverside Park, Heron Park, the Hunt Club area west of Bank St. and Carleton Heights.

Caregivers looking for respite for someone with early to mid stage dementia can call Home and Community Care for a referral. There’s currently a wait list and it could take a few months to get into the program, according to Ford.

“I feel very fortunate to have this service. It’s really good for Aggi and it’s really good for me. The only way they could improve it would be to offer more days to more people. But what they give us is great,” said David Hutton.

Abbotsford Seniors Centre is for Adults 55+.  It houses the community programs of The Glebe Centre Inc., a charitable, not-for-profit, organization which includes a 254 bed long term care home.  Find out more about our services by telephoning 613-230-5730 during regular business hours or by checking out all of The Glebe Centre facilities and community programs on our website  See Abbotsford Seniors Centre’s drop down menu for a comprehensive overview of our services and our current program guide.

Keeping Fit, Keeping Busy at Abbotsford Seniors Centre

By: Pat Goyeche

Abbotsford hosted a Seniors Active Living Fair on Friday, January 5, 2024, funded by the provincial government through the Older Adults Centre’s Association of Ontario network. MPP Joel Harden and Glebe Centre’s Executive Director Emma Tibbo offered words of welcome to the participants and a letter was read from Minister Raymond Cho, Minister of Seniors and Accessibility. 210 older adults took part in free activities throughout the day: fitness classes, hearing tests, water colour painting, needle-felting art, a talk about alerting seniors to frauds and scams, and another talk about the benefits of exercise as we age with Heartwise instructor, Lisa Guadamuz.

Read more

New Leadership at the Glebe Centre

Three and a half years after the global pandemic forced communities to pay attention to the long-term care sector, the Glebe Centre has a new leader with new priorities.

“I’m coming in with a fresh set of eyes,” said Emma Tibbo. “For me as a new executive director, I want to make the Glebe Centre the home of choice and the employer of choice.” 

The not-for-profit organization runs the 254 bed long-term care home across from Lansdowne Park, along with the adjacent seniors’ centre, Abbotsford House.  Abbotsford provides services and programs to engage the 55 plus community and help seniors stay in their homes longer. 

Tibbo takes over from recently retired executive director Lawrence Grant, who was in charge at the centre for the past 15 years. 

“The last executive director went through the pandemic, but the staff and organization is ready for revitalization and we need to look at the models of care for the future.” 

Tibbo started her new role in September. 

Originally from Scotland, Tibbo’s job experience includes forensic work as a crime scene analyst in the UK and New York City. Since coming to Ottawa several years ago, Tibbo has taken on roles in strategy and performance at two area hospitals.

While her role at the Glebe Centre is her first in the long-term care sector, Tibbo says she’s eager to dive into the new challenge of managing elderly care. 

Her priorities include creating a new strategic plan for the centre, which she says hasn’t been updated since 2019. 

“We want to keep staff engagement and morale and make sure the Glebe Centre can continue to provide great care with all the rapid changes in the sector,” said Tibbo.  

Volunteers are key members of the team, yet the base of volunteers dwindled after the necessary precautions and restrictions started in 2020, she said.

“We’re such an amazing community. We want to encourage people to come in and volunteer, take part in programs. We also want to make sure we’re linked to the community which was a challenge during the pandemic, but we now need to ramp that up again.”   

At an open house on her first day on the job, Tibbo met with front-line workers, residents, families and board members. She says her plan is to go on regular “walkabouts” to engage with staff and the people they care for. 

“I always say, ‘once an adult, twice a child’. How do elderly residents keep their identity? It’s a challenge and something we need to address, because the number of people requiring long-term care is on the increase,” said Tibbo.  

There is one “huge concern” as Tibbo settles into work in the heart of the Glebe. She foresees challenges with plans for Lansdowne 2.0, including future road work, parking issues, traffic tie ups and a lack of sufficient public transit — all of which will have an impact on residents’ families, Abbotsford members, volunteers and staff. 

“It could impact the ability to carry out programs,” she said. 

The Mystic Carnivale gala on Oct. 12 was a huge success and raised necessary funds for Abbotsford House and programming. The staff and management at the Glebe Centre thank everyone who contributed from tickets buyers to donors, sponsors and volunteers. It truly was an evening that left everyone spellbound.  

Abbotsford is your community support and seniors active living centre for adults 55+.  We are the community programs of The Glebe Centre Inc., a charitable, not-for-profit, organization which includes a 254 bed long term care home.  Find out more about our services by dropping by 950 Bank Street (the old stone house) Mon- Fri 9-4 pm, telephoning 613-230-5730 or by checking out all of The Glebe Centre facilities and community programs on our website

Fall Back into Abbotsford Seniors Centre

Conversational Spanish Class in Abbotsford Seniors Centre

By: Pat Goyeche

The evenings are starting to cool and we begin to remember feelings of ‘back to school’. Fall always seems like a fresh start full of new beginnings.  You might want to get yourself a new pencil case or perhaps a new set of watercolours, weights, yoga mat or deck of cards!

Finding your artistic, intellectual, and social side are all possible at Abbotsford this fall.

Our ever popular fitness classes, favourite instructors and well loved arts courses are returning to Abbotsford this fall, alongside new programming such as Beginner Tai Chi , Beginner Bridge, Learn to ‘Jam, Beginner Piano, Highland and Scottish Dancing, Beginner Spanish and Beginner Pottery.  

Lunches are available to members on a first come-first served basis on Tuesdays and Thursdays. $10 gets you a sandwich, soup, salad, fruit, dessert and coffee or tea.

Abbotsford has a Trishaw, a three-wheeled electric powered passenger bike to take older adults on rides on the pathway near the Rideau canal. Thanks to a New Horizons for Seniors grant, we are equipped to have volunteers pilot the passenger bike so members and clients can view the fall colours. Many have enjoyed the Trishaw experience so far and we will continue to offer rides into the fall until the snow flies.

Our Community Support Services staff continue to help older adults and caregivers in our surrounding neighbourhoods navigate challenges to remain at home safely. Call or email us, if you have any questions about drives to medical appointments, dementia day programs, Luncheon Club for those who need extra support to socialize, friendly visiting or service arrangements to connect to businesses and home supports. 

The fall guide is available on-line at: see Abbotsford Seniors Centre and drop down menu to Current Program Guide.  Check out the full complement of programs for Adults 55+ online or pick up a paper copy at the centre.

New beginnings have never been easier than it will be this fall, so join in and participate in all that we have on offer that interests you.  Meet new friend and old friends alike and Loiter With Us at your leisure.

Memberships are half price currently and are valid until December for new members trying Abbotsford for the first time. All members and friends of Abbotsford receive emails outlining upcoming events and interesting programs. Be sure to open those emails from us as we promote special events to all the members. Watch for free coffee time and bingo games with prizes, new this fall.

Abbotsford is dedicated to forging new partnerships in our community, implementing new programming through grants and fundraising. We continue to work with our governments, business partners and sector networks that help keep our centre viable, sustainable and our 55+ population active and engaged. 

Fundraising is a necessary aspect of our charitable organization. We rely on memberships, sponsorships, donations, fees for services and engagement with the greater Ottawa community to keep Abbotsford thriving. It is key to ensuring our programs are interesting and affordable to our members and services meet the needs of clients.

This year we have a magical fundraising event to be held the evening of Thursday October 12 in the Horticultural Building, Lansdowne Park.  The theme is Mystic Carnivale!  Be prepared to be dazzled by performers, beguiled by delicious cuisine, delighted with games, prizes and marvelous auction items.  Take a turn on the dancefloor, take in the fun and festive atmosphere and support seniors in your community.  Bring your mom or let her bring you and your friends. It is guaranteed to be an entertaining and memorable evening.

Check out website for our current gala sponsors, businesses that get behind Abbotsford Seniors Centre and all that we do to support older adults. It takes an entire community to support our seniors’ centre.

It is ‘cool to be in school’ so join in and participate in all that we have on offer.

Abbotsford Seniors Centre is your community support centre for Adults 55+.  We are the community programs and services of The Glebe Centre Inc., a charitable, not-for-profit, organization which includes a 254 bed long term care home.  Find out more about our services by dropping by 950 Bank Street (the old stone house) Mon- Fri 9-4 pm, telephoning 613-230-5730 or by checking out all of The Glebe Centre facilities and community programs on our website

Abbotsford Has Butterflies and 3-Wheeled Passenger Bike

By Shirley Lee

Abbotsford has been the home of 20 painted lady caterpillars and now butterflies.  The clients in the Abbotsford Adult Day Program and Luncheon Club have enjoyed watching the caterpillars transform into chrysalises and eventual emerge as butterflies of the course of a few weeks.  Just before the painted lady butterflies were release, the clients had an opportunity to get up close and personal with the butterflies.  The butterflies will be released into our patio area where we hope that they will lay more eggs and produce the next generation of butterflies for all to enjoy. 

Next month we will be caring for Monarch caterpillars in an effort to increase the Monarch butterfly population in Ottawa. As part of the effort to attract butterflies, Abbotsford will be growing butterfly friendly plants and milkweed.

Rolling soon into Abbotsford House will be our Ami Trishaw as part of our Cycling Without Age program.  Thanks to a grant from New Horizons for Seniors, Abbotsford House has purchased a special Trishaw, a 3-wheeled electric powered rickshaw, designed to give older adults and people with disabilities rides piloted by volunteer pilots. The 500-watt electric motor and gears will allow volunteer pilots to ride up steep hills such as the overpasses with ease.

Abbotsford House is fortunate to be located steps away from the Rideau Canal bike path with access to Ottawa’s beautiful inner-city lake, Dow’s Lake, and other beautiful vistas along the canal.

We have partnered with a business called RentABike to assemble the Ami Trishaw. Special thanks to Jill Messier, Fleet and Shop Manager at RentABike, and her crew for hearing about this challenge and enthusiastically agreeing to assemble the Ami Trishaw which was a 6-8 hour endeavour.  RentABike is located at 2 Rideau Street, under the Plaza Bridge downtown.

Volunteers will be trained throughout the summer and depending on their availability they will take older adults and adults with disabilities for rides. Gary Bradshaw is a member of Cycling Without Age, a global initiative, and we are pleased to have him assist with the training.

If you are interested in volunteering as a pilot contact Bridget MacInnes at 613 238 2727 ext 353. If you want more information on the Cycling Without Age program contact Shirley Lee at 613 230 5730 ext 309.

Abbotsford is your community support centre for Adults 55+.  We are the community programs of The Glebe Centre Inc., a charitable, not-for-profit, organization which includes a 254 bed long term care home.  Find out more about our services by dropping by 950 Bank Street (the old stone house) Mon- Fri 9-4 pm, telephoning 613-230-5730 or by checking out all of The Glebe Centre facilities and community programs on our website

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