By Sarah Baker
For the Advance
Last April, the first issue of The LTC Gazette came out for the residents of Our Lady of the Rosary Hospital Extendicare.
Now the paper is a year old and recreational assistant Janessa Dunkle interviews and writes the stories for the paper.
“We started the Gazette because at that point we couldn’t do group activities, so it was a great way to keep the residents connected.”
The paper gives the residents an outlet to share their histories, she said.
“The staff get to know the residents better, and the other residents get to know each other better as they are able to engage with each other.”
The stories that appear in the paper are about the lives of the residents and cover various topics.
“Around Christmastime we will have it themed so the majority will be Christmas stories, on Halloween they are spookier stories, but generally it can be about anything.”
Each issue usually has around four to seven stories that Dunkle prepares.
The opportunities to get to know the residents better has been amazing, she said.
“You find out stories that you never think to ask. It encourages them to come up with stories they probably would never tell anyone, so you get to know them so much more.”
The history and comedic aspect to some of the stories is also really enjoyable and interesting, said Dunkle.
“One was talking about working in the old hospital, another was talking about working in the old drug store in town, and riding horse and buggy to things. I really like the ones that depict what life was like 70 or 80 years ago.”
Currently, the Extendicare has 15 residents and all the residents who are able have had stories done on them.
“Out of the 15 residents 12 have submitted stories for the newspaper. Some have submitted one or two, but most have submitted in every single or every second issue,” said Dunkle.
A couple of days prior to an interview the residents get notified so they can start thinking about what story they want to tell, said Dunkle.
“Sometimes the residents come up to me at different points in the month and they’ll tell me they have a story for the newspaper. Other times when I interview the residents, I give them cues to help them think of a story.”
A new issue of the Gazette comes out every month, but it is only available for residents and staff at the hospital to read.
One day the public will hopefully be able to view the stories, said Dunkle.
“I want to put all the stories together in a book that would go into the museum in Castor that tells our history of the residents at Our Lady of the Rosary and the history of Castor.”