Improving Seniors’ Lives through the Schlegel Villages Charitable Foundation

Generous donations fuel positive change in the organization and the sector

By Kristian Partington

Before he stepped into his new role as the overseeing physician at the Village of Winston Park in Kitchener in the late 1990s, Dr. George Miller thought that a 25-year career as a physician working in acute care settings and within a family practice would have adequately prepared him for the needs of long-term care residents.

He was wrong.   

Dr. Miller leaning on a door frame and smiling for the camera
After retiring from Winston Park, Dr. George 
Miller offered a generous charitable donation.

“If you take physicians over the age of about 30, almost 90 per cent of them have never set foot in a nursing home in their lives,” Dr. Miller says. “They’ve had no training in long-term care, no experience in long-term care and they have no idea of what we do there or what the goals are and I must say that when I arrived at Winston Park, I was one of those physicians.”

He quickly grew to respect the team members at Winston Park and his admiration for their dedication to the residents they serve only grew over the next 16 years. That’s why, upon his retirement at the end of 2015, he chose to honour their commitment with a generous donation to the Schlegel Villages Charitable Foundation to be used as a scholarship fund to help team members pursue continuing education opportunities in the field.

“One of the things I realized very quickly was that they work way above the level of their paper qualifications,” Dr. Miller says of the team members he met at Winston Park. “People take on responsibility that they would never take on in the acute care system and everybody’s dedicated in long-term care to true patient-centred care.

“It was fascinating the way that they didn’t just talk the talk about it – they really made sure that these things were done and that’s part of the reason why I have a great respect for the team there.”

Dr. Miller hopes his donation will help offset the costs of continuing education for the ambitious team members who will continue to lead positive change in the long-term care sector well into the future.

Christy Parsons, the vice-president of support office services at Schlegel Villages, had the pleasure of working with Dr. Miller when she was at Winston Park as the village’s director of recreation. She says his generous donation fits directly in line with his kind nature and the overarching purpose of the charitable foundation.    

“The mandate is to improve the quality of life for seniors,” Christy says, “and supporting the development of the leaders within our organization is one powerful way to do that.”

Donations come to the foundation for many reasons, she adds. People may choose to support a specific project within a particular village that has had an impact on the life of a loved one or, like Dr. Miller, they will choose to support a wider scope that may impact the lives of seniors to come.

No matter the reason or the purpose, she and her fellow team members within the organization are beyond grateful for the support the foundation receives and they pledge to honour each meaningful gift in all they do for the residents they serve every day.

For more information on the Schlegel Villages Charitable Foundation, please visit this page at our website.