Making the Connection: Social Work at Luther Village on the Park

Luther Village on the Park Social Work Student Interns Alex and Lyle

As more and more research is showing, mental and emotional health is crucial to the well-being of individuals of all ages. For seniors, there are additional challenges including lifestyle transitions, changing health conditions and other concerns related to aging. Additionally, there are still stigmas around asking for help, or admitting a need for emotional support. At Luther Village on the Park, as part of our overall commitment to resident wellness, we offer a Social Work program. This program provides a variety of ways in which residents can share their feelings, discuss their concerns, and connect with others in a safe and supportive environment.  Here is an overview of what we offer:

Friendly Visits

Sunshine Centre residents are offered the opportunity to take part in Friendly Visits. In these visits, Social Work Student Interns meet with residents one-on-one to listen to their present joys, concerns, thoughts and feelings without interruption, in a quiet and confidential environment.

All Luther Village residents are welcomed to attend our group activities.

Friend to Friend

The first, Friend to Friend, is a place to share memories and thoughts. Every week the Friend to Friend group discusses a particular topic, usually meant to recall memories of family or history, and each member is given an opportunity to speak. Friend to Friend is an excellent occasion to share memories and learn a bit about fellow residents while also sharing your own memories and experiences.

Reading Group

The second is the Reading Group. Each week of the reading group a different poem or short story is chosen and then read out to the group. After listening to the story, residents have an opportunity to discuss it and share opinions and memories. Occasionally group members are also welcome to bring their own material to share with the group.

Getting to know our Social Work Student Interns

Each year Luther Village has two Social Work Student Interns to support our programming. This year we welcome Alex and Lyle. These two friendly young women love to connect, and are looking forward to getting to know residents over the course of this year. If you see them in the hall, say "hi!". Alex and Lyle are at Luther Village every Monday to Wednesday from 9:00 am to 5:00 pm until June.

Here is an introduction to them, in their own words …


I am from a small town in Northern Ontario. I love animals and have a rabbit that lives with me in Waterloo. In my free time I enjoy socializing and meeting new people. I have a Bachelor of Arts and am currently studying Social work at the University of Waterloo. I have enjoyed being a part of the Wellness Team here at Luther Village these past four months. It has been exciting to meet many of the residents and to build relationships with them through our groups and friendly visits. I hope to continue to promote resident well-being over the course of my internship.


I am also a student at the University of Waterloo. I am a country girl at heart and enjoy spending my weekends and summers out on the farm with my horses and many other animals. During the school year I volunteer at a riding stable for people with disabilities which I like very much, and help run a social club on campus. Working at Luther Village has been a wonderful experience for me so far! I love meeting residents and listening to their stories – each resident is unique and has had many interesting experiences. I hope to continue meeting everyone in the Sunshine Center and have a chance to talk to each resident.

Please feel free to call or email Alex or Lyle to learn more about the Social Work program!

Alex Burden:

Lyle MacDonald:

519-783-3710 ex. 4221