Snapshots of St. Clair

‘There is so much caring here,’ says neighbour Maryanne Jobin

By Kristian Partington

Maryanne Jobin’s lungs only function at 17 per cent of their capacity as she battles against emphysema for breath every day. A year ago, they were at 24 per cent, she says, reminding herself that each day is a gift, for illness can progress all too quickly.

Maryanne is among the first residents to call the Village at St. Clair in Windsor home, and over lunch she’s discussing her feelings about the decision to move into long-term care, and her experience in the short time she’s been there.

“I always said I was never ever going to end up in a place like this,” she says with a matter-of-fact tone, her voice quiet as oxygen is pumped into her system through her nostrils.

About a year ago, however, she found the simple tasks of daily living were a burden she could no longer carry, and she decided with her children that she would seek some support. At a relatively young 67, it was a tough decision, but as she looks back on it she knows it was the right one.

Aspen Lake was her first choice of homes, Maryanne admits, for she’d be closer to her children on that side of Windsor. “Now I’m not so sure I’d want to go there,” she says with a smile, and the neighbours at her dining table nod in agreement. “I like the people here,” she says, noting that it can be a humbling experience to see there are other people who need support – some whose health is not as strong as hers.  

Her lungs may struggle for air, but her mind is as sharp as it’s ever been and her attitude is positive, despite the challenges she faces,  and for that she’s thankful.

“I take it day to day,” she says. “That’s all any of us have.”

She finds that within the Village at St. Clair there are many people to lean on. “There is so much caring here, from the staff to the residents themselves,” she says. “The support system in here is just awesome.”

It’s not necessarily programs or organized activities that provide that sense of support, Maryanne points out. “It’s the people.”

Not long before this lunch as she shares her thoughts on life at St. Clair, she’d gone through a rough spell, finding herself in hospital.  “I have to admit,” she says, “I was ready to meet my maker. I really thought I was that bad.” She came around, however, and she takes the time now to thank those around her for their help and support, offering her simple life philosophy to those around her.

“Whatever I’ve got, man, it’s just part of the journey,” she says, “and it’s an awesome journey.” You just never know who you’re going to meet along the way.