Shining resident successes as Winston Park LTC prepares for expansion

In the summer of 2023, Mary Hannusch would have said she felt perfectly fine; nothing too much out of the ordinary. Her ordinary had been a bit complicated in recent years, to be fair, with three different cancer surgeries and radiation treatments striving to turn the tide of faltering health, but for the most part, Mary was doing quite well.

A smiling Lydia sits by a window in her neighbourhood, one of many residents who are thriving in the new Winston Park.“Then I woke up one morning and I couldn’t walk,” she says, and from there the following months of memory are pretty blurry. Weeks upon weeks of hospital and rehabilitation centre stays followed and even now, in the early spring of 2024 as she sits in the country kitchen of her bright new home in the Village of Winston Park, she can’t fully explain what caused her rapid decline last year. She says much of that time was spent as if in a “deep, deep sleep”, but she’s since awakened and is working hard to make physical progress since moving to the Village in January.  

She’s sitting alongside a fellow resident, Lydia Nitz, who shares a similar story in the sense that in one moment early in 2023 she was entirely independent then in the next, a major stroke had completely altered her ability to walk and communicate verbally. After a long period of hospital and rehab stays, Lydia also moved into Winston Park’s Strasburg neighbourhood, part of the Village’s expansion that opened in April of 2023 for 224 residents.

Like Mary, Lydia has a keen sense of determination to work alongside Winston Park’s Program for Active Living (PAL) team towards physical improvements in mobility, and their determination is quite something to see.

Lydia’s daughter, Christine, has witnessed it firsthand since her mother joined the Village community, and she’s consistently and pleasantly surprised by what her family’s experience has been since the words “long-term care” became part of their lexicon. Her mother’s improvements have been incremental, but they are real and they have exceeded expectations they were told to manage when Lydia was discharged from rehabilitation services.

“For us,” Christine says, “these gains have felt very helpful, and I think mom’s morale, too; she feels like she’s working towards being a little more independent.”

Mary agrees that every bit of effort towards improvement will pay off, and that’s why so many residents are grateful for the PAL team and the others in the Village who encourage their ongoing efforts.

 “You feel really good when you can do just a little thing,” Mary says. She’s gone from requiring a full mechanical lift for safe transfer to a sit-to-stand lift, for example, in which she is able to use more of her leg and core strength that she didn’t have before.

“I know these all sound like small things, but they matter,” she says, and both Christine and Lydia’s eyes light up, as do those of PAL Director Carlyn Martin, who oversees the efforts of all the Winston Park residents and the team of physio and exercise therapists. Carlyn understands how determination and perseverance combine improvements into ongoing betterment for residents, physically and, by extension, emotionally and mentally.

For her part, Christine is grateful for the community her mother and family found at Winston Park in the new expansion. “I feel like they’ve taken a very nice interest in Mom,” Christine says of the team. “They saw mom’s determination. It was not just to stay at the status quo, it was like, okay, yes, she’s made some gains, but let’s push a little more and see how far mom can go.”

There is peace of mind for Christine in knowing that her mother is so well cared for, and Lydia agrees with that sentiment with a smile, as does Mary.

In the summer of 2024, Winston Park is set to open yet another 64 newly updated and renovated beds in the old part of the Village, bringing the total number of beds to 288. This is an opportunity to bring the Village’s philosophy of care to even more people in great need in a region that has seen so much of it.  

Expanding upon that opportunity this summer is an exciting prospect, and the Village team is looking forward to broadening their impact in the community. 

Winston Park works closely with Home and Community Support Services to admit people in need to long-term care. Home and Community Care Support Services is responsible for placement coordination to long-term care homes and supports eligible patients through the application and decision-making process. For more information on the long-term care application process and eligibility, please visit Home and Community Care Support Services website: Long-Term Care | Home and Community Care Support Services (