“It’s like home,” whispered Helen Gordier to her daughter Suzanne. Helen will be 88 this year and has been a resident at The Salvation Army Ottawa Grace Manor in Hintonburg since August 2014.
Helen and her family have strong ties to The Salvation Army, so when a suite became available for Helen; the family decided to make this her new home.
Suzanne gently put her arm around her mother and helped her walk down to the activities room for a visit and chat about her life and times at both Grace Manor and The Grace Hospital.
“My mother was a Registered Nursing Assistant at The Grace Hospital for over 15 years from the early 1970’s to the mid 80’s in the maternity ward,” said Suzanne, “She trained to be a nursing assistant after my father died in 1962.” Helen’s other daughter Elizabeth (Betty) who now lives in Edmonton, has three children and her first Dayna was born at the Grace Hospital. “It was pretty special for my mom to have her first grandchild born where she was working as she was able to give Dayna her first bath,” said Betty.
“I go home twice a year to Ottawa to spend time with my mother and I always enjoy my visits; I even take part in the activities like the sing-alongs and I do my mother’s nails. The staff are exceptional. Residents are very pleasant and happy; obviously it has to do with the quality of care,” she said.
Helen was involved in 38 different activities at Grace Manor just in her first month. She especially enjoys activities which include music. “The Salvation Army band plays here,” Helen smiled at Suzanne.
“The socialization is really good here too, they have teas and movies and the residents eat together,” replied Suzanne who in turning to her mother added “I think your happier now mum then the last few years you lived in your own apartment.”
“My mother has a good sense of humour and is very playful. We enjoy a laugh together,” said Suzanne as she held her mother’s hand and grinned.
Both Suzanne and Betty both recounted the transition and move to Grace Manor was smooth and that their mother assured them she was happy.
“They do it right here,” Helen told her children, “They do it right.”
“We also like that Grace Manor is a not for profit. This tells me that the funds are all going into resident care and the physical environment of the home,” said Suzanne, “We get a warm and fuzzy feeling every time we visit the Grace.”
Helen Gordier passed away peacefully in her 89th year in June, 2015. Her family continues to share her story to support The Salvation Army Ottawa Grace Manor.
For more information about The Salvation Army Ottawa Grace Manor, please visit their website at www.gracemanor.ca
Reprinted from Ottawa Citizen, June 8, 2015