Kitty Enrau (from left) smiles with Harry Jennings and Ailleen Hewitt at Deni House in late February. Jennings was there donating a wireless sound system on behalf of the Heather Morton-Knezevich Memorial Fund to the facility. With it, Deni House is able to enhance its residents quality of life through music, easy to hear announcements and meetings. (Photo submitted)

Deni House residents enjoy a brand new sound system

Community gives back to its senior citizens

The staff and residents of Deni House are enjoying a brand new wireless sound system donated by Harry Jennings on behalf of the Heather Morton-Knezevich Memorial Fund.

Jennings is a longtime active member of the Williams Lake community and is a member of Quintet Plus, a director of the Community Arts Council of Williams Lake and a frequent participant in a wide range of community concerts and events.

“Williams Lake is a great town, I’ve lived here for about 22 years and I’ve met so many wonderful, friendly and talented people so I’ve just found it’s a great place to live. Of the several places I’ve lived in Canada, I’ve found I like the weather here and the people the most of any place I’ve lived,” Jennings said.

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In recent years, Jennings has taken to playing music at seniors homes and care centres in and around Williams Lake, twice a month at Deni House.

When he asked in the fall of 2018 what the residents there needed to improve their quality of life, the staff said that they could use a more modern sound system similar to the one Jennings had been using for his performances.

As the manager of the Heather Morton-Knezevich Memorial Fund, created in memory of a former co-worker of Jennings, he chose to propose buying a new wireless sound system for Deni House to the board.

As the fund is intended to improve and enhance the quality of life in and around the Cariboo Memorial Hospital, they agreed to the purchase.

“I was able to get a really good purchase price from the Guitar Seller for a sound system, a stand and a wireless speaker and microphone,” Jennings said. “It’s got a wide range of uses for a place like Deni House.”

Both residents and the staff have been quite thrilled with the donation, according to Jennings, as it allows the staff to more easily engage with those residents whose hearing has declined substantially. In addition, it now allows those residents hard of hearing to experience the healing powers of music more freely, in Jennings opinion.

He himself partially plays music for the Deni House residents because he firmly believes it has a therapeutic effect on them. The way they respond to the music through smiling, moving their heads or tapping of toes, to him, is indicative of these effects in work.

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As he sees it, any enhancement to a person’s life in their later years that can be made should be made and he’s proud to live and work in a community that follows and implements this philosophy.

The staff and the residents of Deni House, meanwhile, want to extend a heartfelt thank you to Jennings and everyone else involved with the donation of this new wireless sound system.

In a statement, they also hit upon the fact that many of the residents of Deni House are hard of hearing and that this system will help them be able to communicate more effectively with them.

“In the two weeks since we have had the system, we have already had the opportunity to use it multiple times. Besides our music volunteers using it for their performances, we used it during our memorial tea last month,” Deni House said in a statement.

Enhancing their residents’ quality of life remains the goal of Deni House staff and they said that this sound system is already helping them to do so.

They plan to use it in the future for musical performances, meetings and general announcements to their residents.

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