An Afternoon of Exceptional Music – Aug 17

BC Country Music’s Female Vocalist of the Year, and granddaughter to one of our very own residents – Karen Lee Batten will be joining us for an afternoon.

Pausing to Celebrate and Remember with our Annual Butterfly Release

Menno Place hosted their second annual Butterfly Release Celebration for seniors, families, and staff in the beautifully landscaped courtyard in the center of the 11-acre campus of care in Abbotsford.
Residents, family members, and staff were encouraged to purchase butterflies for release on this very special occasion…

Canada Day Celebrations – June 30

WHERE: Menno Place Courtyard

WHEN: Friday, June 30th, 11:00 AM – 4:00 PM

Please join us for the 150th Canada Day Celebrations coming up on Friday, June 30th! We will be having a Classic Car Show and entertainment by The Swell Guys at 2:00 PM. Festivities start at 11:00 AM in the Menno Place Courtyard.

World Hand Hygiene Day – May 5th

Menno Place was involved in World Hand Hygiene Day on May 5th. This day is an annual reminder that hand washing is the single most effective way to prevent the spread of communicable disease.

Visitors, friends and families – there is nothing as simple AND as effective that you can do to protect the seniors at Menno Place than to wash your hands.

Wash every part of your hand – under your fingernails, between your fingers and even the bottom of your palm. YOU can be a HERO by simply washing your hands frequently and for longer than you usually do.

How long should you wash and scrub?

Sing Happy Birthday TWICE while you move the soap and water around all parts of your hands…. that’ll make ALL the difference!

Thanks for making a world of difference in protecting our seniors at Menno Place!

$500 million for seniors in British Columbia

Photo Credit: BC Care Providers

Health Minister Terry Lake said the government will spend $500 million over the next four years to improve care for seniors, setting a target to average 3.36 direct-care hours daily to seniors in publicly funded private and non-profit residential care homes. This funding announcement is a pivotal moment for seniors and their families in British Columbia.

Menno Place is grateful for the opportunity to participate in bringing attention to the need for increased funding in the long term care sector. Karen Baillie, CEO of Menno Place, is the President of the BC Care Providers. The BC Care Providers was established 40 years ago and represents over 70% of the care providers for seniors in British Columbia (

Working alongside Daniel Fontaine, the CEO of BC Care Providers, Karen Baillie was an integral member of the team that worked with our politicians to bring awareness of the funding needs of seniors’ care.

The Province will spearhead a number of other measures to improve supports for seniors, such as additional home-support services and hours, increased home-health monitoring, training for staff and funds for quality of life. The Province has also entrusted $10 million to the BC Care Providers Association to allocate to publicly funded care homes to purchase new equipment such as wheelchairs and patient lifts to help people with limited mobility, and falls prevention equipment inlcuding hand rails and alarms for beds to protect seniors at high risk of injury from a fall.

Karen L. Baillie Photo Credit: BC Care Providers

Karen Baillie was elected to the board of BC Care Providers in January, 2016. “It’s great to have someone with Karen’s experience and background take over,” says Elaine Price, Past – President of the BCCPA. “Under her leadership our organization is poised to build even further on the incredible momentum we have generated over the last few years.”

“This is an exciting time to be part of the vision for seniors care in our province,” said Karen L. Baillie. “We are reaping the benefits of working together with politicians and stakeholders who understand what is needed as our population of seniors continues to grow. I am grateful for the opportunity to work together with BC Care Providers to draw attention to seniors’ needs and to work on behalf of more than 300 member organizations who provide care for more than 16,000 seniors in our province. This funding is a historic decision. I’ve worked the majority of my career with seniors for over 35 years and never seen this level of commitment in such practical terms. We are grateful for what will become possible through this $500 million funding commitment.”

Preparing for the Future of Seniors Homes – Architect Champions “Attractive Public Spaces” for Seniors, Families

BC Care Providers Annual Conference 2015

The 38th Annual BCCPA Conference (BC Care Providers Association) was attended by two members of the Mennonite Benevolent Society Board, along with the entire Executive Team. We are grateful to a member of the MBS Board who offered their place in Whistler to reduce cost, permitting the entire Executive Team to participate.

The theme of the conference was “Sustainability through innovation”. There were more than 24 thought-provoking workshops, 60 speakers and over 70 vendors in the Exhibitor Marketplace.

Speakers included:

  • Dr. Darryl Plecas, MLA, Parliamentary Secretary to the Minister of Health for Seniors
  • Daniel Fontaine, CEO BCCPA
  • Robert Ghiz, former Premier of PEI and co-lead of the first Health Care Innovation Working Group (HCIWG)
  • Dr. Sacha Bhatia, Director of the Institute for Health System Solutions and Virtual Care at Women’s College Hospital, Evaluation Lead for choose Wisely Canada
  • Dr. Samir Sinha, Director of geriatrics at Mount Sinai and the UHN hospitals, Provincial Lead, Ontario’s Seniors Strategy
  • Dr. Ryan D’Arcy, Professor and BC Leadership Chair in Medical Technologies at Simon Fraser University and Surrey Memorial Hospital Foundation
  • Sharon Simpson, Director Communications and Marketing at Menno Place spoke on a panel on the topic, “Incorporating faith in a non-faith based care home (addressing spiritual needs of individuals in non-faith based care home).”

Topics included:

  • The Innovation Paradigm: Delivering Excellence and Sustainability in Continuing Care
  • Spiritual Care of People with Dementia: A Creative Approach
  • Creating a Change Platform: Quality Improvement in Residential Care “Safer Care for Older Persons in Residential Environments”
  • The Changing Face of Residential Care
  • Music for Living – Concerts in Care
  • How the Smartphone and mHealth Technologies will Transform Healthcare
  • Reawakening the Connection: A presentation on technology and person-centered care
  • Revisiting End-of-Life in Canada

The conference is a reminder that innovation is necessary in these changing times. As the demand for senior care increases, there is a need to provide care in new ways, to use technology to increase effectiveness and to collaborate in order to create synergy.

Dr. Darryl Plecas announced $50,000 in funding to the Health and Arts Society and Concerts in Care. Menno Place regularly enjoys the musical talents of the Concerts in Care program.

SafeCare BC Welcomes New Board Member – Jeanette Lee

Menno Place is pleased that Jeanette Lee. Director, Human Resources will be serving as the Not-for-Profit Employer Representative on the SafeCareBC Board.

Jeanette Lee has worked in the area of Human Resources for 18 years. She sees how the Continuing Care sector needs to be well-informed when it comes to occupational health and safety, knowing that care staff have the highest risk of injury at work.

Click to read more about Jeanette Lee and her role on the SafeCare BC Board.



Established in 2013, SafeCare BC (SCBC) is an industry funded, non-profit society working to ensure injury free, safe working conditions for long term care (LTC) workers in BC. SafeCare strives to be the industry leader in advancing injury prevention and safety training for LTC workers. We are committed to improving health and safety within the work place and responding to the needs and priorities of our members.

SafeCare maintains a strong emphasis on injury prevention in the field of long term care through the following methods:

  • Offering online/in-person learning for health care professionals working in the long term care sector
  • Improving health and safety protocols within the workplace
  • Providing management with training on creating and fostering an organizational culture of safety
  • Providing materials and resources to support safer workplaces.

Did You Know?

Continuing care workers experience more time-loss injuries than almost any other occupation.


Aging Together Abbotsford 2016 Conference – Isobel Mackenzie, Seniors Advocate

Aging Together Abbotsford 2016 is a conference for baby boomers and seniors. It took place over two days with educational workshops, expert speakers, as well as vendors and exhibitors that promote a full and healthy lifestyle for older adults. Presented by Abbotsford Community Services (, the conference was well attended with over 130 registrants who were engaged fully in the sessions, workshops and ongoing conversations that ensued.

Dan Levitt, Executive Director of Tabor Village and adjunct professor of Gerontology at SFU emceed the two day event. He said that he “hoped the next 2 days would help all of the participants grow in wisdom and although growing old may be a challenging chapter in life, it will also be a valuable and meaningful time in your life”. Dan’s engaging sense of humor and knowledge of the field of gerontology set the tone for the two days of information, networking and fun.

Greetings were brought to the conference by Mayor Henry Braun who affirmed Abbotsford as an Age-Friendly community with desire and initiative to continue providing services for seniors.

Before introducing Isobel Mackenzie, Seniors Advocate, BC, Dan shared Henry Fredrick Amil’s powerful quote, “To know how to grow old is the master work of wisdom and one of the most difficult chapters in the great art of living.”

Isobel Mackenzie, Seniors Advocate, BC – Keynote Address

Isobel Mackenzie, Seniors Advocate, BC addressed the crowded room mixed with seniors, professionals, pastors and chaplains. With more than 20 years of experience working with seniors, Isobel MacKenzie brings a thorough, evidence-based, researched method to her work in advocating for seniors in British Columbia. Just prior to becoming the Seniors Advocate, Isobel was leading BC’s largest non-profit agency, serving over 6,000 seniors.

Isobel debunked a number of myths in her keynote address, such as the idea that seniors are a burden – that there is a great silver tsunami coming that will come by surprise and wash over British Columbia devastating everything in its path. She addressed the myth that all seniors are rich, stating the statistic that at age 65 over half the people are living on an income of $24,000 or less. There are 54,000 seniors in British Columbia who are living only on Old age Pension and Guaranteed Income Supplement, a sum of $16,800 per year.

Isobel shared how well-meaning professionals are trained to make people’s lives as risk-free as possible and yet, it’s time to allow individual seniors to live at risk as they choose.

Another myth addressed by the Seniors Advocate was the idea that you will get dementia if you live to be elderly. Statistics show that four out of five people over 85 do not have dementia. An unintended consequence of creating awareness of Alzheimer’s for research dollars is that everyone fears that they will get dementia.

What about resident-on-resident aggression within residential care homes? For the first time, there is a benchmark statistic collected by the Seniors Advocate office. This says that between 425 and 550 reported cases resulted in harm in residential care. Although our aim is to have no aggression, this rate of aggression needs to be understood in the context of the 27,000 residents in British Columbia.

What about the myth that all elderly people will lose their driver’s license? Over 97% of seniors over 80 years old will pass the DMER test and not be subject to the DriveABLE test. From there forward, they will be able to renew their license.

The Seniors Advocate also shared that they are collecting statistics through the Senior Abuse and Information Phone Line as to how many seniors are being abused. As the benchmark numbers are being developed, Isobel noted that many of the reports of abuse were more than five years old, indicating an under-reporting of abuse incidents.

Her work ahead will include a Resident on Resident Aggression Review, Home Support Review and a Pharmacare Review.

Conference workshops at the Aging Together Abbotsford 2016 Conference ranged from Advance Care Planning; Financial and Estate Planning; Successful Aging; Privileges and Responsibilities of Driving; Intimacy Through the Years: Exploring Sex as we get Older; Travel Tips; Family and Friend Caregiver Tips; Heads up for a Healthy Brain; Healthy Smoothies and Laughter Yoga.

Aging Together Abbotsford 2016 – Wisequacks -Dr. Dave Hepburn and Dr. Rob Seeley

Keynote speakers at the Aging Together Abbotsford 2016 conference, Dr. Dave Hepburn and Dr. Rob Seeley, The Wisequacks. WiseQuacks is the most fun, informative and upbeat health show in the media today. Heard nationally across Canada and the USA every Sunday, this live call-in show allows you to talk to Dr. Dave Hepburn and Dr. Robert Sealey, both MDs (Masters of Deception), about any medical issue. (

With absolute hilarity and belly-laughter, the doctors shared how to live health for longer. Dr. Dave Hepburn shared the doctors orders to exercise, work on your sense of humour, keep your mind sharp, get enough sleep and learn to connect. With hilarious photos accompanying his talk, Dr. Dave Hepburn quoted from The Gesundheit Foundation and from his favorite philosopher, Willie Wonka, “A little nonsense now and then is relished by the wisest men.” Final thoughts were, “If I knew I was going to live this long, I would have taken better care of myself.” Mickey Mantle.

Dr. Rob Seeley’s talk on How to Die Young at an Old Age touched on the eight important numbers for seniors as well as the Hits and Myths of Medicine. Myths include: everyone should take an aspirin a day; cell phones cause brain cancer; drink 8 glasses of water per day and only men have prostates.

Continuing their comedic talks, they shared the power of optimism in living long and truly living. Laughing 100 times a day is the equivalent of 20 minutes in the gym. The most influential factor in enduring happiness is that we are born into a wealthy democracy followed by education, spiritual path, happy marriage and large social network. The biggest single factor that we can control is our circumstances – reducing stress as effectively as possible.

The doctors shared multiple research studies, including research on happiness, optimism, anger and how using your money to help others is the most powerful factor to how it effects your happiness level. Quoting the Dalai Lama, they inspired the audience to really live, “What surprised me most about humanity is that man sacrifices his health to order to make money. Then he sacrifices money to recuperate his health. And then he is so anxious about the future that he does not enjoy the present; the result being that he does not live in the present or the future; he lives as if he is never going to die, and then dies having never really lived.”

They continued to bring laughter and inspiration through multiple stories and photos of the people on the island of Tanna in the South Pacific where they have both served the happiest people on earth, according to Conde Nast.

They quoted Walt Whitman who said, “Happiness – not for another place, but for this place. Not for another time, but for this time.”

They closed by saying that, “there ain’t much fun in medicine, but there’s lots of medicine in fun”.