The festive spirit shines at Winston Park

A little extra care brings joy to residents and team members

By Kristian Partington

There is something magical about the feeling of comfort and joy that goes along with the twinkling lights that decorate the world around us as Christmas approaches. At the Village of Winston Park, for example, some of the residents who live in assisted care and don’t often communicate verbally, will brighten with wide smiles as they look into the lights of Christmas in the darkened evenings. 

Resident and Team Member by a small Christmas tree
A little Christmas Spirit care of PCA Linda Goodreau.

Those smiles are part of the reason why personal care aide Linda Goodreau goes through so much effort – most often on her own time – to brighten her neighbourhood with festive decorations. She’ll often come in off shift late in the evenings when most residents are sleeping to do the bulk of her decorating so the next morning people will awaken to the sights and sounds of Christmas.

“I just do it out of the goodness of my heart,” says Linda. “I do it for the residents and the team; it makes everyone happy and smiley. I’m one of those Christmas spirits.”

She brings in her own decorations and asks for nothing in return – it’s the smiles she craves. Not only do residents enjoy it, but her fellow team members are also wrapped up in the spirit that Linda helps to foster, says fellow personal support worker Merry Snider. “I see how much she enjoys it.” says Merry.  “It’s just about being involved with work and with residents in a different way.”

Miss Kay, as she prefers to be called, is a resident at Winston Park and agrees that it’s team members like Linda and the extra care that goes into their connection to village life that sets the entire home apart from it’s competition. “I can’t rave enough about Winston Park,” says Miss Kay, noting that she lived at a different retirement home previously. It’s the most wonderful place I could ever imagine. I can’t praise them enough, everybody.”

Making the choice to move from her beautiful home and independent living wasn’t easy, Miss Kay says, “but I couldn’t be happier.” The comfort she feels there is enhanced with the decorations around her.

Merry and Linda are sitting with Miss Kay as she praises the village and talks about the festive spirit floating throughout, and they beam with pride. To hear Miss Kay, “makes me feel appreciated,” says Linda. “It makes me feel so very, very happy.”

She thinks of those residents who say so little throughout most days, and how their faces brighten with smiles as the Christmas lights go on. It’s a connection Linda cherishes and has for 16 years working at the village, and one of the main reasons why she’s so involved when the holidays roll around.