At around midday on April 18, 2021, Shirley Arthur asked the lead nurse in her Bronte neighbourhood if she could use the intercom system. While this may have been a perplexing request, Bronte’s PSW’s cheered her on and encouraged her to make an announcement. In the minutes after, Shirley spoke from her heart, and thanked all the team members of the neighbourhood for what they had done during her short time living there.
After all, she had only moved in a decade ago.
Now, as Shirley looks around her room, she reflects on the years she’s spent living in The Village of Tansley Woods Long-Term Care Home. She fondly thinks on the times she’s had to express herself, the feeling of security, and the team she’s come to know and appreciate throughout the years.
“I’ve made some very fine friendships with them, and it’s been really nice,” says Shirley. “This is my home, and I love it here.”
Shirley loves to sing, and she’s delighted to add her voice to the Tansley choir, though it was far from her first time performing in a long-term care. During her early teens in the 1940s her group would sing hymns to long term-care residents.
Angela Randall, the music therapist who comes in to Tansley, recognized Shirley’s passion and offered to record a handful of religious songs together in Shirley’s room.
Listening to her own recording of “No One Ever Cared for Me Like Jesus,” Shirley takes in how her Alto compliments Angela’s Soprano.
It was her first experience ever recording her voice, and it has been very important to her.
“She did this for me as a favour and my children will always have it as a memory,”” she says. “It’s already on two or three laptops in the family so when I do go, my voice will be there.”
One of Shirley’s talents has always lied in public speaking. From her years as a young teenager, oral rhetoric came naturally to her and that talent stays with her today.
Years ago, when Tansley Woods announced its team member success awards for exemplary service, Shirley noticed one of her favourite PSW’s, Rose Harvey, didn’t receive any.
This compelled her to write a letter to Jo-Anna Gurd, the Village’s general manager, to explain why Rose deserved an award. Months later, Shirley personally invited a shocked Rose up on stage at the Burlington convention hall during another event in front of a sea of Tansley Woods team members.
“You had to see this Rose,” Shirley recalls. “I thought she was going to pass out, she cried and she cried.”
With Rose on stage, Shirley spoke earnestly about the care she was given, and why Rose was so special to her.
Around a year later, Shirley happily accepted the chance to talk on stage again, this time to 200 graduating PSW’s at The Village at University Gates.
“They were going out to face these new residents,” Shirley recalls, “so they needed to hear from somebody that could tell them what to expect.”
And it’s kindness in the relationships that seem to matter most.
“I value the care.” Shirley says with a smile. “There’s not a PSW in my whole ten years that I can say I’ve ever had an argument with.”
While times may be uncertain, Shirley knows she can depend on the support of her PSW’s for the kind of support she’s valued for 10 years in her home at Tansley Woods.
Keith Corkum has a background in journalism and communications and currently works at The Village of Tansley Woods in Retirement. We’re grateful he shared his storytelling talents with us after a conversation with Shirley. If you’d like to consider sharing a story about Village life, please connect with Kristian at Kristian.Partington@schlegelvillages.com.