Ken Snelson’s suite on the 4th Floor of The Village of Humber Heights is filled with signs of his passion for British postal history. His collection fills some 50 volumes and, as the secretary of the Philatelic Society of Canada, Ken produces a monthly newsletter. He’s also written two books on the subject and he says he’s happy that he’s been able to arrange his suite to allow him to continue to pursue his interests.
He’s also grateful his wife Karen is well cared for in the Egerton Neighbourhood two floors down from him; he’s up and down the flights of stairs many times a day, happy to be by her side as often as possible.
Karen’s health needs began to change nearly 10 years ago and Ken has been a devoted caregiver throughout. However, after she suffered a fall three years ago and other ailments compounded, they decided it was best to seek additional support. It wasn’t the amount of work that concerned Ken, but he says quite simply, “I was getting myself into situations I couldn’t manage.”
In Toronto’s west-end, not far from the condo they called home for nearly 20 years, a long-term care bed became available. This was in late 2019 and a few short months later, COVID-19 restrictions hindered their ability to be together, and together they needed to be. They decided upon Humber Heights retirement and Karen moved in August of 2020. After much frantic effort, Ken was able to tidy up the sale of their apartment and he followed in early October.
The decision itself, wasn’t a difficult one. “Having decided what we were going to do, we went methodically about doing it,” Hen says matter-of-factly. What was important was they had a place where Ken could continue to pursue his passions, Karen’s needs could be safely met and they could be together.
And social connections within the Village and with the team were also important to the Snelsons. Years ago, Ken and Karen owned and operated a Bed-and-Breakfast near Toronto’s High Park, and Karen found great joy in being a host. The joy in connecting with people still shines in early summer of 2021 as she and Ken discuss how they’ve settled into their new home.
Karen has regular physiotherapy sessions and is slowly gaining new strength she hasn’t had for quite some time and Ken says they have found great value in the integration of medical care with general care. The fact that there’s a doctor in the Village they’re able to consult with is important, and Ken has had two occasions where the physician was able to quickly order an x-ray directly to his room to assess two separate issues.
There’s comfort in the knowledge that the care is available and the continuum is there for both should their care needs change at all. For now, however, Ken works away at his writing and research and is a regular up and down the stairs between the second and fourth floors, as happy as always to be at his wife’s side.