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Bouquets for Baba bringing joy to Maple Ridge residents in end-of-life care

Bouquets brought to residents of hospice and long-term care facilities in the community
(Colleen Flanagan/The News)

When Treena Innes would visit her mother in McKenney Creek Hospice she noticed not everyone was receiving visitors.

Her mother, whom she lovingly refers to as Baba, Ukrainian for grandma, loved flowers.

“Baba taught me how much a simple caring and kind gesture of colour and nature can brighten your day, week and even month,” explained Innes, the executive director of the Ridge Meadows Division of Family Practice.

When her mother passed away, the thought still stuck with her.

What if she could rally the community to spread some joy to those who may be facing the end of their lives who have already lost their loved ones and the social connections they used to have. And everyone she talked to jumped on board.

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So, in honour of her mother, Innes and a group of passionate volunteers have launched a campaign called the Bouquets for Baba Giving Program in partnership with Maple Ridge Florist to supply bouquets of flowers to hospice residents and residents of long-term care facilities in the community.

“It just came to me as a mission and a vision to see if we could get the community together to purchase flowers,” explained Innes.

“It is heart breaking to realize that for some residents, they truly have nobody in the world. We want to change that, noting something as simple as beautiful begonias can make all the difference,” she added.

READ MORE: Ridge Meadows Hospice celebrating 25 years

COVID-19 has also increased the loneliness residents in long-term care face, said Lindsay Zylstra, community relations with Maple Ridge Seniors village, one of the care homes taking part in the project.

Maple Ridge Florist will be donating five bouquets a month to the cause and to kick off the campaign on Friday, Feb. 19, the business donated eight bouquets to McKenney Creek Hospice Residence—one for each current patient.

Each bouquet is non-scented and long-lasting.

Dr. Ursula Luitingh, another volunteer behind the project, said her older patients can be very lonely.

“The power of small acts of kindness can be incredible,” she said.

Baillie House recreation therapist Jade Tomlinson explained that when one of her residents receives flowers, memories can be triggered of sparks of joy. But, she said, most of all flowers let people know that someone cares.

“I am really excited about the potential to brighten the lives of our seniors, particularly those in their lasts days. We may be starting small, but kindness spreads kindness,” added Shelli Kiselycia, owner of Maple Ridge Florist.

“I am confident the impact of these bouquets on our community will be tremendous,” she continued.

Innes is hoping people will find it in their hearts to perform more caring gestures to lift people’s spirits.

“To let them know someone cares, that you are not forgotten, you are on our minds and in our hearts.”

Anyone inspired to purchase a bouquet for a local senior through the Bouquets for Baba giving program, can do so in person at Maple Ridge Florist, or by visiting Bouquets for Baba on Facebook.

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Colleen Flanagan

About the Author: Colleen Flanagan

I got my start with Black Press Media in 2003 as a photojournalist.
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