Residents of Berwick House and Berwick Royal Oak are celebrating the season with crafts, gala dinners and the warmth of friends, family and staff.

Residents of Berwick House and Berwick Royal Oak are celebrating the season with crafts, gala dinners and the warmth of friends, family and staff.

‘Truly magical.’ New residents describe their first Christmas at Berwick

Events, uplifting atmosphere and welcoming community are making spirits bright

For 27 years, Margaret Pilon lived in a small house next to Berwick House in Gordon Head, and whenever the retirement community had a special event, they were sure to invite Pilon and her family. So when Pilon and her daughter Barb decided it was time to downsize, the choice was easy.

“We knew all the staff before we moved in. Tom Goluza, the general manager, is one-of-a-kind. My mum knew him when he was a young boy,” Barb says.

Being only 62, some of Barb’s friends were concerned that she was too young to move into a retirement community, but Barb says she loves it.

“We went to our first Christmas Gala a week ago and I tell you, it was truly magical — that’s the only word I can use to describe it. Mum and I couldn’t believe that this is where we lived.”

Like a tonic

Across town at Berwick Royal Oak, friends Peg and Judy are just three weeks into life at their new home, and loving every second. The pair spent the last year at a different retirement community that left a lot to be desired, and say Berwick is lightyears ahead.

“Moving here has been just like a tonic,” Peg says. “The staff are fabulous. Just so helpful, accommodating and efficient. The people who serve us in the dining room are a group of the nicest young people I’ve ever met. They are just so professional, it’s a dream to sit there and a privilege to have them look after us. Everything they do here is just first class.”

After a dull year at their previous home, Judy says life at Berwick has been uplifting.

“There’s lots of good humour here, and everyone we meet is friendly. They go out of their way to introduce themselves and suggest activities. The choices seem endless!” she says.

Life is always full at Berwick Retirement Communities, and extra joyous during the holiday season. Photo courtesy Berwick Retirement Communities

Life is always full at Berwick Retirement Communities, and extra joyous during the holiday season. Photo courtesy Berwick Retirement Communities

Welcome to the Berwick family

The holiday season can be a lonely time for those missing loved ones, so Berwick staff take extra care to ensure everyone feels welcome.

“In Active Living our role is to bring the joy and spirit of the season to our residents and come together as a festive community through all our small and large events. It feels like a big extended family and we all have a lot of fun together,” says Rachelle Reath, Active Living Manager at Berwick Royal Oak.

Barb, Peg and Judy all mentioned the many events that make spirits bright throughout December, on top of the many daily opportunities to engage inside and outside the Berwick community throughout the year.

  • At Berwick Royal Oak, residents and staff come together for two full days of decorating in the last week of November, while outside at Berwick House, residents watch as staff arrange over 10,000 lights in the Berwick gardens.
  • Live entertainment performs in the Berwick Theatre and dining room by Joyz and the Boyz, Festive Brass Quintet and more.
  • Christmas Craft Fairs feature handcrafted items from residents and staff as well as outside vendors.
  • Outings take place to the Nativity Display at Sidney Church, the Naden Band Christmas Concert, Butchart Gardens’ lights and displays, the Victoria Symphony POPS Christmas concert at the Royal Theatre and more, using the convenient and comfortable Berwick Bus.
  • Residents enjoy casual social events with traditional holiday baking (special family recipes made by staff), mulled wine, Christmas Karaoke and eggnog in the Pub, carol sing-alongs and more.
  • The Berwick “Grandparents” welcomed students from Strawberry Vale Elementary for a visit, with a special appearance from Santa.
  • Chef and cookbook author Denise Marchessault led a holiday French baking demonstration, with tasting of course!
  • Non denominational Christmas Eve services are offered in the Berwick Chapel.

Berwick Retirement Communities are both locally and family owned offering flexible, upscale and affordable senior living options in a caring community. For more information about Berwick House, contact Maggie Raw at 250-853-5492. For more information about Berwick Royal Oak, contact Kathy McAree at 250 419-4012.

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