Love lives here

18 May 2023

AgeCare Employee Appreciation Week honours the amazing careers of long-serving employees

AgeCare Employee Appreciation Week is a time to recognize our valued employees and to thank them for making AgeCare communities safe, comfortable, amazing places to live for our residents.

To the AgeCare employees who share their love and respect with residents, their families and loved ones, and their colleagues every day, THANK YOU!

This year, we are honouring some long serving members of our team for their vocation and commitment to providing excellent care.

We spoke to these exceptional women, who have more than 128 years of combined career experience in long-term care, about the secrets of their longevity, special memories, and advice for younger colleagues or students entering the profession.

The word most frequently used by Jeannie, Shauna and Wennie to describe their work is LOVE. We are so grateful for the love they share with their residents and colleagues – and for the thousands of lives their hearts have touched.

Jeannie is a Health Care Aide at AgeCare James Bay in Victoria, BC. She started at James Bay in 1978 and reached her 45 years of service in April.

“I really love my job. I love being able to make a difference for these residents. I teach all the new staff when they are coming in that we have remind ourselves that we are working in their home. Everything we do, we have to do for their comfort.”

Jeannie emphasizes getting to know the residents and their family members, to help relate to them and to help them have the best possible quality of life. “It’s important that we are there to share our love. It’s so wonderful when a resident will just come up to you and give you a hug for no reason. It just opens your heart to this compassion that we all need to have. It’s so worth it. Forty-five years later and I still love getting up and coming to my work. You have to be able to love your job.”

Shauna, a Recreation Aide, also recently celebrated 45 years at AgeCare Sandringham, a tertiary mental health community, also in Victoria. “I love it. You just never know what the day is going to bring you.”

Shauna spent 40 years as a Health Care Aide before shifting career paths to become a Recreation Aide. She helps residents enjoy a wide range of therapeutic recreation activities, including functional exercise programs like chair yoga, Qigong and Tai Chi; intellectual stimulation activities like brain games and Yahtzee; and engaging outings to the pool, bowling alley, ice cream truck or, recently, an alpaca farm!

Assisting in providing palliative care for residents at the end-of-life stage is something that Shauna finds deeply gratifying. “It’s a privilege and an honour for me if I can help someone in their last days. I’m thankful that I have my 40 years of nursing background so I can help them on their journey.

Shauna recently celebrated her 45th anniversary at Sandringham with a fun party thrown by her colleagues. “We are a really unique home, and as someone once said, ‘Love lives here’ and it’s absolutely true.”

WennieAfter almost 38 years as a Health Care Aide at AgeCare Glenmore in Calgary, Alberta, Wennie still loves coming to work. She is motivated by her residents, caring for them and even the simple joy of serving them their morning coffee. She also likes to interact with her co-workers, making jokes and having some fun to help brighten up the lives of the residents. She remembers fondly the Stampede parties they held at AgeCare Glenmore, dressing up in cowboy hats and dancing with the residents.

Wennie remains keenly engaged in lifelong learning. She’s taking courses in mental health and addiction to learn more about the types of care her changing resident population needs.

Wennie’s advice for her younger colleagues and students looking at long-term care as a career is simple. “You have to put yourself, your heart, in it. You have to put your passion into it, to have compassion for your residents … like you look after your grandmother. Be mindful of all that is going on around you and protect them.”

Thank you, Jeannie, Shauna and Wennie, for your dedication to your profession, for your mentoring and leadership, and for making the lives of your residents better and brighter every day – with love!

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