Louise Schultz’s connection to Waterloo’s Pinehaven Nursing Home goes back some 25 years to when she began working there as a personal support worker; upon reflection today it’s a connection that very well may have saved her life.
For seven years she was part of the small community as a PSW, eventually having to leave to care for her ailing mother when a rapid illness struck. After her mother passed, Louise began working in homecare settings and though she never again worked at Pinehaven, she always held a soft spot in her heart for the quaint home, a spot that only grew larger when she became a resident there.
In 2016, Louise’s health took a terrible turn, the result of a long struggle with addiction that worsened in the wake of the loss of her mother. She found herself in Kitchener’s Freeport Campus of the Grand River Hospital in active recovery and rehabilitation. Long-term care was the eventual next step once she stabilized and a small home in Mount Forest was her first step before she came full circle back to Pinehaven in early 2018.
“It was a wonderful place for me to be,” Louise says, recalling her days working at Pinehaven, and she knew coming back when she needed support would mean stepping back into a place of comfort. “I was pleasantly surprised by the amount of long-term staff that was still there,” Louise says. “My room was a revolving door the first week that I was there.”
She threw herself into life in the home, befriending team members and residents alike. She became a proud leader of the residents’ council, supported the palliative care team and leaned upon her faith and her friendships as she continued to grow stronger in body, mind and spirit.
On Nov. 15, Louise walked out Pinehaven’s door a second time to begin life anew, eternally grateful for the support she received and committed to the enjoyment of each new, bright day ahead of her. She’s also committed to the home and the friends she has there, and though she lives outside of Waterloo now, she plans to visit as often as she can.
“I have just really found a newer way of life,” Louise says. “It’s just amazing what a blessing I have been given. I would like to thank every staff member and resident; they were just so good to me. These people, they are like family.”