Annual General Meeting
On June 16,
Tabor Village held its 60th Annual General Meeting (AGM). Each year, Tabor Home Society has set aside one day to reflect on the year that has passed and to look ahead to the future via Zoom.
What follows is the Executive Director’s Report:
It is an honour and a privilege to present the Report of the Executive Director at the 61st Annual General Meeting of the Tabor Home Society.
First, congratulations are in order. You have all worked hard this past year and many of you have been at this for a long time, in some cases decades, and your families have a legacy that spans more than six decades of commitment to Tabor Village.
This AGM is not what we imagined and our world is a much different place than anyone could have predicted even a half year ago. We should be sitting shoulder to shoulder celebrating our collective accomplishments in the Chapel together. Being greeted at the Court entranceway to sign in and be handed a hard copy of the agenda package. Waiting for the Executive Director to finish his speech. Thinking about the delicious deserts that Executive Chef Francisco Alvarenga has prepared for the reception after the AGM concludes.
But this year is different. We are different. No older adult gets to choose the diseases and frailty that often lead to increasing dependence on others as they age. But if you could, you probably would choose to live to a 100 and be healthy as you were in your youth until the day you die. For those that can no longer live independently, they need a place to call home, Tabor Village is here for them.
In the past year, we have faced significant challenges: acuity levels continue to increase of older adults in care, staffing vacancies caused by not enough people choosing to work with the elderly, overtime costs increasing, outdated complex care buildings overdue for replacement, no commitment from government to fund new buildings, and aged care workers unrecognized for their selfless dedication to others, reinforced by society that values youth more than age.
And of course the reason why we are all gathered here today virtually and not in person, COVID-19, which has triggered the biggest challenge we face as an aged care community. The pandemic has brought a great deal of stress and uncertainty to our lives and we have had to make unprecedented sacrifices. You have had to rethink the past few months as you sheltered at home and as restrictions are lifted you are faced with the realities of the new normal, which we know will be anything but normal.
The COVID-19 pandemic has exposed the flaws and limitations of the way seniors are cared for in long term care and assisted living across Canada and indeed around the globe. The very purpose of aged care communities is to serve others and cause no harm. The images that we have seen on the evening news and online can be unsettling and even alarming. But it is also a wakeup call. A wake up call on how much Tabor Village is needed.
Those who are older than 75 years of age will certainly remember the struggles they faced as the greatest generation coming out of the 1930s depression, a world war, rebuilding and creating this community. That great generation created the institutions like Tabor Village that continues to be a revered community benefit. That great generation led by example, sacrificing a great deal to make the world in which we now live reflect the values that they dreamed future generations would enjoy a better quality of life.
The challenge facing us in 2020 is not dissimilar. The decisions we make both strategic and day to day, will decide the future of Tabor Village and of how older adults experience the aging journey. I cannot think of a community better prepared to set us on the right path forward.
COVID-19 has taken many things away from us. Least of which is a proper AGM. The last few months have been incredibly stressful. But this pandemic has taught us important lessons. It has reminded us how much we need one another. To defeat this virus we have all had to play our part. The Tabor community has made real sacrifices to protect the elderly. You have shifted your life to the virtual world. Family members have not hugged their loved ones living at Tabor Village and spouses now separated by visitor restrictions have not held hands or kissed in months. You have chosen to help out your family, your neighbours and your community during this tough time. You are helping your church, working on the frontlines of the outbreak at Valhaven, you have adapted to the new normal. You have stepped up. You have leaned in. What matters most is looking out for vulnerable seniors with compromised immunity.
Understanding our choice on the impact on others and being there for each other. This is what these unprecedented times are teaching us and reminding us all. That others are depending on us. That the people around us matter. It is time that we reclaim the idea of being a good neighbour. After all, it is a commandment to love your neighbour as yourself. Both on Zoom and in real life.
When I was a child, one of my favourite television shows was Mr. Roger’s Neighbourhood. Fred Rogers, who was a Presbyterian minister before starring in his own TV show said when he was a boy,
“I would see scary things in the news, my mother would say to me ‘Look for the helpers. You will always find people who are helping.”
When the pandemic entered Valhaven at the end of April, health care heroes showed up to help. The Tabor community has always had a passion for helping others.
I want to extend a special thank you to Tabor’s helpers, the health care workers on the frontlines of this crisis. These are difficult and stressful times that we and our family members are experiencing. Tabor Village is forever grateful to you.
Older adults living at Tabor Village depend on you to put your own fears and concerns aside to care for them. Now more than ever, families who can no longer visit their loved ones rely on your courage, dedication and caring. You are all heroes. You are a source of inspiration. It gives me great pride to say that your presence here as part of our Village staff is made better because you are in it.
This has not been an easy time for you or your families. Please know that we are in this together and your dedication is truly appreciated. The leadership team, the board of directors and for that matter the broader community share in this gratefulness for you choosing to be a helper.
And given the sacrifices that you have made in the face of the greatest health care crisis in generations, the demands placed upon you have shifted since the pandemic was declared a public health emergency in March. These are dynamic and fluid times requiring us to make changes to the way we care for older adults who call Tabor Village home.
When the first cases of COVID-19 were diagnosed in Abbotsford beginning in the springtime. Tabor Village was prepared with a pandemic plan to reduce the risk of the virus and to be ready for the surge in Coronavirus cases. We were not caught flat footed when residents and staff members tested COVID-19 positive. The leadership team implemented the pandemic plan.
I want to let you know that the health and well-being of employees especially during the public health crisis is of paramount importance to me and to our leadership team. You have risen to the occasion to provide compassionate and unparalleled care for those who have needed us the most. Why because that is the Tabor way. It’s our legacy and it’s our tradition. Our community needs us and expects us to do so.
While physical distancing has kept us apart, you have come closer socially as a caring community. Be assured that the clinical leaders have reviewed and ensured that every precaution is part of our pandemic planning and as needed has been implemented.
As a team focused on stopping the spread of the virus we have gotten to this point and together we will get through this. We have learned a great deal during the pandemic and we have improved as an organization. Ultimately, we will emerge on the other side knowing, that we honoured our oath, that we did everything we could to serve vulnerable older adults, their families and caregivers.
Thank you for being safe and following our infection control policies and protocols. It has been uplifting to hear the stories of your heroism in how you have gone out of your way to serve others. Take care of yourselves and your family. My thoughts and prayers are with you all.
You are all heroes.
To the leadership team, board, donors, and Tabor community. Your determination to improve, your willingness to learn and your optimism about the future is at the heart of who we are as a community. We all know that Tabor Village did not happen by accident and will only continue with your effort. And if there is something about caring from the heart that makes us unique, it is not the belief that we are the best aged care organization, it is knowing that we could be. Our work is never finished. Our belief is that the best is yet to come. The future today seems especially daunting. But Tabor Village has everything it needs not only to achieve, succeed and build, but to be content with our lot.
To the seniors living at Tabor Village and your families. No one gets to choose the health challenges that often accompany the aging journey. But we do get to choose how we care and support for older adults, that will be our legacy. Thank you for trusting us with your care and support as you age. We will always be there for you with a caring heart.
Together we are Tabor Village. We know what is wrong and how to fix it. We are all accountable for our future. Your job is to not only challenge the status quo but to bring about the transformation that you wish to see in Tabor Village.
Since the pandemic started, the Tabor Village of today is very different. We have always been unique. The public health crisis has just reminded us what we already knew. That you ‘Care from the Heart’. That you care about older adults who can no longer live independently. You care about seniors and those supporting them, some you know, and others you have yet to meet. You care about what happens next to Tabor Village. I know we can do this and so do you.
Thank you. God bless you. God bless the Tabor Village we love. Thank you.
Join Us On Father's Day (Virtually)!
This Sunday, June 21 at 7:00pm, join us online in celebrating the many amazing dads at Tabor Village and beyond. With special entertainment by the Singing Fathers, join us and Clearbrook MB Church for this special LIVE event.
All proceeds are going towards our COVID-19 Emergency Relief Fund to help with the ever increasing expenses of PPE and other necessary medical supplies to help keep both residents and staff safe. Join us in the fight against COVID-19 by donating today.