To Serve a Village of ‘Grandparents’

Just off Main Street in The Village of Wentworth Heights, a group of Schlegel Villages team members share some of their views of Village life. One is a Personal Support Worker and another works as a recruiter with the central Support Office. The others work in recreation, with varying lengths of service, from a mere month to a supervisor who has been at the Village for years. 

Their back stories are as varied as one might expect, but the common thread they all share is their love of residents and their experience as graduates of Hamilton’s Mohawk College, and they each describe a sense of family connectivity when they speak about their time within the Village.

Taranjot Saini says the residents he serves at The Village of Tansley Woods are as important to him as his own grandparents, who he never really knew for long as they passed away when he was a young boy, not long after he moved to Canada from India.

“I came in Grade 4 at 9-years-old,” Taranjot says. “I don’t know much about my grandparents so I treat these seniors like my own; that’s what got me into recreation therapy.” He says he loves coming into the Village and starting his shift with some music to get the neighbourhood moving. 

Taranjot stands along Main Street in the Village, smiling wide in his red work shirt.

“Elvis is my go-to,” he says with a smile, and his reward is the smiles he sees upon the faces of residents when he connects with them, especially those who are living with dementia or Alzheimer’s disease. He speaks of one resident in particular who will always stay in his memory. Though she lived with dementia, she was always positive and she offered him words to live by. 

“ ‘Whatever comes today, whatever happened yesterday, leave that behind and look forward,’ ” Taranjot recalls this woman saying. “Don’t look behind and just keep moving forward. That’s what I have gotten from most of the residents and that’s what I’m sticking with.”

“Move forward and don’t look back.”

Taranjot is still working regular shifts while he pursues a Bachelor’s degree to accompany his Mohawk diploma, always looking forward and knowing he works for an organization that offers plenty of growth opportunities. He’s from a family of caregivers with both a sister and mother serving others as nurses, and Taranjot’s kindness toward the ‘grandparents’ he serves is something the Village is proud to have.