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Fair Haven brings philosophy of person-centred care to life out on the water

Just because you call a residential care facility home, doesn’t mean you can’t live life to the fullest. Fair Haven Homes is committed to the principles of person-centred care, meaning that they support their residents in making decisions about their daily lives and having rich experiences. Recently, a group of residents took advantage of some beautiful summer weather, enjoying a sunshine-filled afternoon on the calm waters of English Bay aboard a luxurious 44-foot yacht.

“We wanted to come up with a project, aligned with one of our passions, that would benefit the community,” said John Gowan, Director of Finance for Fair Haven Homes. “My passion is sailing, and the community I care about is our residents, so the idea of the boat trip came up."

Fair Haven is a non-profit HEABC member organization that provides round-the-clock professional support and person-centred care for over 200 seniors with complex health needs in Burnaby and Vancouver. On this particular day, 10 residents embarked on a two-hour excursion starting in False Creek, touring across English Bay and continuing along the coastline of Stanley Park. Staff, volunteers and family members joined Fair Haven residents on the excursion, providing encouragement as they climbed aboard and took to the water. Fair Haven was fortunate to receive donations from local businesses for this special event, including the boat rental and a professional photographer to capture the moment.

“It’s so exciting because of how much of a different and unique opportunity this is for residents,” said Joy Parsons, Chief Executive Officer for Fair Haven. “We learned quite a few things along the way, like how we can make it even more accessible.”

Fair Haven residents take regular day trips that don't require as much staff and safety preparation, but Parsons said that these boating adventures are something she hopes they can do more often, at least once a year.

“We try very hard to get our residents out into the community on a regular basis,” Parsons said. “What I always find amazing is the amount of coordination [it takes] to do a regular activity that you or I might do without a second thought.”

Not to be deterred by complicated logistics, when asked if they are planning another boating journey in the near future, she said “Of course! Everyone absolutely loved it, especially enjoying a nice lunch on the boat, and enjoying the scenery!”

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