Celebrating Life

 

   

Celebrating Life

How do you say “thank you” to a community that cares like you do?

This is the question I have pondered for some time now. My mother, Leona, was struck with Alzheimer’s in 2012, leaving my dad, my sister and I in shock. Before we knew it, the disease changed her to the point that we knew she needed more medical support than we could give. She eventually came to live at CapitalCare Grandview for nearly five years before leaving us this past January.

This is when I learned how and why community donations and support matter - the support you make happen every year. Which I hope you will do again this year.

Before Alzheimer’s, mom was a vibrant senior who had a wonderful smile and contagious laugh that she shared generously. Whether with a stranger, long-lost family, or her favorite relative, when you visited her home you were made to feel special and very loved. People truly loved being with her.

Christmas was one of her favorite times of year and as the season approaches this year I find myself thinking about all that she did to make our home feel...well... like home. And thinking about how I can help to make it home for so many others living at the CapitalCare centres. 

Mom, of course, had her signature stuffing for turkey that we are forever going to try to reproduce. She made some special desserts only at Christmas. One of my favorites is a shortbread-type cookie rolled into a ball with a maraschino cherry at its center. 

Mom knew how to be a kid at Christmas. Long before Christmas Eve, and after much rattling of presents on her part, we could count on her to suggest “Maybe we could open just one present before Christmas?”

My mom knew how to make you feel a part of the family. And that is how I felt when she moved to Grandview. A part of their centre. A part of their family.

The experience of staying at CapitalCare was incredible. The staff cared for my mom sincerely. And what was even more impressive, they also cared for my dad, my sister and I. We couldn’t help but join in the activities. My Dad, already in his mid-90s, insisted on helping the recreational therapist distribute and collect the exercise bands used by the residents in the exercise class. 

At mealtime, when she was still engaged in the world around her, banter went back and forth across the table. It was just like home “pass the buns down here please.” It was just what she needed. A place she could be comfortable in. A place she could call home.

If not for the misfortune of Alzheimer’s I would not have ever experienced the life of a long-term care centre. Although it was not our plan, I am not sorry to have had the opportunity. 

I learned just a few days ago that months after my Mom’s passing when I see someone who provided extra special care to Mom - especially toward the end - that the sadness is still quite fresh. And so is the eternal gratitude.

I thought it would be easy to find the words to say thank you. Then, when I actually see someone, I can barely speak. The impact of commitment to CapitalCare goes that deep. 

How could I possibly put into words the impact that the staff - and you as donors - have on families and residents? The amount of comfort and care that is provided, every single day, every shift, every moment. I can’t. I can only help hold up the mirror to you and hope that you see what I see.

Your compassion and commitment to health care has few parallels because there is no family, no matter how great their need, that wants to put a loved-one in institutional care. We all wish we could manage on our own and look after those we care for, but the reality is that at some point in the journey of Alzheimer’s or dementia, or a condition arising from injury or ill health, care at home will not be enough.

We need YOUR help. Your compassion and commitment.
We need YOU.

There are days when our loved one is stressed, frightened, confused and lost, but because of your support, the staff is able to create rooms that invoke comfort. They are able to soothe through music or be there to share a laugh, play a game, sing a song, or provide a hug. And it is done with incredible amounts of fortitude,creativity, and good humor. It simply astounds me.

YOU make this happen through your donations. And let me say, you did right by Mom, my father, sister and I. Right by everyone who cared for her. Your donations do matter. Your donations help to turn a facility into a home.

Please continue your commitment by making a donation this Christmas so that the extras remain to support all the caring and compassion that happens in the centres. And when you or your loved one needs the same care I hope you experience the community of caring like our family did.
Like my mother did.

Thank you, thank you, and thank you. Blessings on you all.

Sincerely,
Gord Demers
Loving son of Leona

PS: Please know that your donation today will help families in the centres. It will bring the extra supports needed to create a home for so many elders and their families. Families like ours. Families like yours.

Make a donation today by clicking Donate Now at the top of this page.

 

 

 

 

 

Meet the Sarjas Family… A Family that Supports

On any given day you will see at least one member of this incredible family at CapitalCare Strathcona visiting their loved one Joseph Sarjas, a resident living with dementia. The whole family has become a welcome addition to the centre. 

Like many families, four years ago the Sarjas Family had to find a new home for their father Joseph as he could no longer stay in his home. They choose CapitalCare Strathcona because of its location near their own homes. Since then, the family has come together and has become very involved in the centre. This includes sitting on various committees and dedicating a lot of their time raising funds for the centre. The bonus - Joseph always has family around!The best piece of advice the family has to give for new families in the same situation is “it’s okay to get involved and it’s good to meet family members going through the same struggles as you.” Angela, Joseph’s daughter, says “Give where you live” cause Dad’s community is our community now.

 


 

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