Kim and Jean and a beautiful friendship at Arbour Trails
By Kristian Partington
Ever since moving into The Village of Arbour Trails in January, things have been going extremely well for Jean Wiley. She can’t say enough positive about the people who live and work in the village but there was always a little something she missed – her regular visits to the hair salon. She missed getting her hair done and because she can’t walk and relies on a sit-to-stand device to transfer from bed to wheelchair, she couldn’t make an appointment at the Riverstone Spa work, even though it’s right down Main Street from her room.
“Everybody was racking their brains saying ‘how can we get Jean a perm?’ ” says Kim Mior, a personal support worker at Arbour Trails who’s grown quite close with Jean over the months. “She’s wanted one ever since she moved in.”
Then one day in mid-September, Kim was in the Riverstone Spa getting her own hair done. While she waited she began sizing up the location, eventually grabbing a tape measure to make sure her idea was going to work. She went to the sit-to-stand lift and measured it up and then made one more visit to the spa.
“I said to the girls, ‘if I come back here on my day off with Jean to get her hair done and bring her lift, can you give her a perm?’ and they said, ‘Why didn’t anybody else think of this!’ ”
“That’s just how it happened,” Jean says with a smile as she takes a compliment on her fresh look. “The girls did a good job.”
Helping Jean and her neighbours feel fully themselves in their new home is exactly what Kim says her job is, and she was happy to spend a day in the salon with Jean to make that happen. “I can’t get enough of this place,” she says, “and people look at me like I’m weird, but I’m not here for a paycheque, I’m here to enhance the residents’ lives, so any little thing I can do to help with that makes me feel successful.”
This is a second career for Kim. She spent 22 years as an insurance broker in the past, but she also played the important role of caregiver to several loved ones dealing with different illnesses. After all five passed away within six months of each other, Kim knew she couldn’t go back to selling insurance and she made caregiving a full-time job.
Jean smiles gently when asked if she’s glad Kim made that choice. “I certainly am,” she says. “It’s fun to live here when you have people that are willing to do such nice things for you. It makes all the difference in the world.”