Giving of Yourself to Reap the Rewards of Contentment

“I gotta’ keep working all the time,” says Barb Boismier, a neighbour from The Village at St. Clair who admits she really didn’t feel comfortable in the Village when she first arrived in early 2023. Like a lot of people, the transition from living fully independently to long-term care wasn’t among her aspirations in life, and she wasn’t happy about the move when the time came.  

Barb Yet she made connections with different team members and her fellow neighbours and soon found ways to put her seemingly boundless energy to use. One of the team members she has grown most closely connected to is Karyn O’Neil, who officially supports the Village as horticultural therapist, but offers much more beyond that.

They do many things together, from tending to the gardens in summer to the crochet club that brings different neighbours together every week to work on different items. Barb has been a key recruiter for the club, always eager to inspire other neighbours to get out of their rooms and connect with each other. This is one way she keeps busy, and if she wasn’t busy, she’d have a hard time keeping her positive spirit up, she says.

“All my life I was my own boss,” Barb says, noting she ran her own business supporting older adults in the community. “I like working with people and I like helping them.”

It’s no wonder she still has an innate desire to help her fellow residents at St. Clair.

Connecting with Karyn and the other team members has really helped Barb settle into Village life. She says she always liked gardening and she finds comfort sitting alongside Karyn in the greenhouse caring for the bright plants and flowers.

“I love Barb’s passion for plants,” Karyn says. “It was really easy to start our friendship because we both love plants. We got to know each other over the summer months while Barb would water the gardens; she would often beat me here.”

Change can be difficult sometimes, Barb admits, especially for someone who is used to being busy and in control, but she says part of the reason she’s grown so comfortable is the fact that she never says “no” or “I can’t do that” when a new opportunity arises. She’s up for anything and she finds purpose in many different activities in the Village, and she’s glad to be able to help her fellow residents, either with the horticulture club or the crochet club.

In November, they organized a homemade poppy campaign to raise money for the local legion, and Barb was proud to help contribute nearly $250. “If you can help other people,” Barb says, “you feel that appreciation, just beautifully.”

When you give of yourself to others, Barb proves, you will also reap the rewards of contentment.