Ursula Penney and her daughter-in-law, Anna, sit in the living area of her suite in her new long-term care home at The Village of Winston Park in Kitchener. Ursula’s husband George is quietly resting on the bed at the other end of the suite.
The space looks as though they have lived in it for much longer than a month, but that’s because it was decorated with love when the time came to move to the new neighbourhood from Waterloo’s Pinehaven Nursing Home.
The beds and dresser are at one end and a sofa with a small dining table abutting it separates the space into a living room. Their television is there and many family photos adorn the walls, as well as a photo-box marking Ursula’s years as a Nurse’s Aide at Pinehaven Nursing Home, including her 10-year service pin. What goes around comes around, as they say, and the caregiver becomes the receiver.
“This is so nice,” Anna says as she looks around the space. “This is generous enough that we could keep some of their furniture and make it more like home.”
Ursula grew up in Newfoundland as part of a large family, and she maintains a close relationship with all her siblings. Her children grew that way as well so when the time came for Ursula, George and their fellow Pinehaven residents to move to their new home at Winston Park in mid-April, Anna and the family were there to help arrange everything alongside the team.
This is certainly not what one might expect when they think of a long-term care home. The double-occupancy rooms in the new eight-neighbourhood home are large and bright, and from the 6th Floor, George and Ursula can look far into the north of the city.
Because of Ursula’s experience as a caregiver, she recognizes the dedication she sees in the team from Pinehaven, which has now combined with the Winston Park team. She says the move was as smooth as one could have hoped and she was grateful her family and team helped create such a comfortable living space.
Anna recognizes the effort that was made to ensure the residents were impacted as little as possible during the move.
“I think they did an awesome job,” she says. “They had people come from other Villages to help and support people who didn’t have family available. It was nice that we were able to be here.”
Ursula agrees, and she’s grateful to have a loving family that now extends to a wider group with neighbours and team members at her new home.
“Love,” Ursula responds, when asked about the secret to keeping a large family close. “It’s as simple as that. We love each other and we were raised that way.”
That love is always in her heart and though she may be a resident now, she is always looking out for her fellow residents. Once a caregiver, always a caregiver.