Within the antique walls of Maynard Nursing Home in the heart of Toronto’s Little Portugal lies a virtual United Nations. The bulk of the residents and many of the team members banter back and forth in Portuguese, but you’re as likely to hear Spanish, Eastern European, Ukrainian or Quebecois French accents as any.
The many cultures combine to give the home its own unique identity as a family that celebrates its diversity. As one of the newest additions to Schlegel Villages, the team and 77 residents at Maynard add new depth to the organization.
One of the first things that stood out for the Support Office team when they first began talking acquisition with Maynard was the depth of commitment among so many of the Maynard team members. Some, such as Lu Orias, have spent more than three decades supporting residents at Maynard.
Lu says providing care to others is something that was passed down from her parents, who brought the family to Canada from The Philippines in 1980, and she and her two sisters decided their role in life was to help others.
In January, Lu will mark 33 years at Maynard and she remains as happy today as she was at 23 when she first started as a PSW. “I love working with the elderly,” Lu says. “I treat them like my Dad and my Mom.”
The fact is, because the home is small and filled with so many committed people, it really does become like a family, Lu adds, and it makes no difference where people come from – they all become part of the Maynard culture.
Registered practical nurse Rafael Valdes agrees. Maynard was the first job he found when he moved to Toronto nearly 6 years ago and he’s enjoyed every minute of his time on the job. He was happy to learn that Maynard joined the larger organization, Schlegel Villages, but in his mind it makes no difference who the owner and operator is – he’s there for the residents first and foremost.
“It doesn’t matter, the organization,” Rafael says. “You’re focusing on the residents and the people here, and this is my reason to come to work. I’m going to be the same person, always.”
When he first came to Canada from Cuba, he landed in Manitoba and decided he wanted to start slowly with his skills as a nurse and ease into his new home, so he chose long-term care as a starting point and fell in love with the people he served.
“I’m going to start in a quiet place,” he told himself, “but then, after that, I loved the place and I loved to work with them (the older residents). I don’t want to go to work in an emergency room or anything like that.”
When he moved to Toronto, Maynard was a perfect fit and he says perhaps the greatest thing about working with a diverse group of older residents from many corners of the world is their ability to pass along their knowledge and experience.
“They tell you a lot of stories,” he says. “I’ve got people who were in the concentration camps in the Second World War, people who started from nothing and people who were very rich.
“You get a lot of spirit from them and you learn from them.”
Perhaps this is the greatest gift of all when it comes to a diverse and closely-knit community such as Maynard, and the team there is happy to offer that gift to the wider organization that has welcomed them into the fold.
Learn more about Maynard Nursing Home