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Great Connections

Great People make Great Connections

Often, the impact our Great People have in the lives of residents and their families extends far beyond the exceptional care and service provided. A hand to hold. A listening ear. A voice of encouragement on a hard day. 

Great Connections celebrates the strong relationships and meaningful experiences that make up our vibrant, warm and supportive Shannex, Parkland and Faubourg communities.

We would love to hear your Great Connection.

There are two ways to share your Great Connection story on our website. Residents, families and our team members can submit a Caught You Being Great nomination to recognize an individual or group for going above and beyond. Some of these nominations will be featured as part of our Great Connections program. Or, send an email to connections@shannex.com to describe your experience, recognize a team member or volunteer or express your support.

Great Pride

July 16, 2019

Pride is a powerful word. And like most things, it’s better when shared. Celebrating the diversity of our friends, family and communities is a wonderful way to bring people together and make the Great Connections that are so integral to leading a meaningful life at every age.

Shannex is proud to support LGBTQ+ communities during local Pride festivals and throughout the year. This year, Nova Scotia’s Pride celebrations kicked off in Truro, and our nursing homes and retirement living residences in the area were extremely well represented. With nearly 50 participants, Shannex was one of the largest groups in the parade, and thanks to some fabulous t-shirts, very easy to spot. Everyone had a wonderful time connecting with friends and family, old and new, during what has quickly become one of Nova Scotia’s most colourful events.

Mending a broken wing

July 11, 2019

In long term care items such as stuffed animals can become an important part of residents’ daily routine, providing comfort. A bird named Gloria is a perfect example of how these treasured possessions bring joy and demonstrates the relationship that can build between staff and residents.

Gloria is a large stuffed bird who belongs to Vicki Boyd, a resident of Debert Court. Recently, Gloria lost her wing and needed to be repaired. Wilma McCabe, a Support Services Assistant, knowing how important Gloria was, immediately jumped into action. Wilma found the damaged wing and repaired her. You can now find Gloria back where she belongs on the resident’s lap.

Making the world a better place, one connection at a time

July 10, 2019

There is an endless number of ways to make Great Connections and bring a little sunshine into the world. A smile, a chat, a treat, a helping hand, a thoughtful gesture – there are people who always seem to have the time and compassion to think about others and make their lives better. This is the story of one of those people, Orchard Court resident Robert Patterson, as told by Regional Manager Vanessa Quigley.

Robert “Bob” Patterson has been a resident at Orchard Court, in Kentville, since 2016. Bob warmly reminisces about his childhood with a family of eleven. After describing how his mom fried bread dough for breakfast, he added that he could not think of anything he would have changed about his childhood in Dartmouth.

Bob openly expresses a desire to be kind to everyone he sees throughout his day. He acknowledges that everyone has a story to tell and, as all of us are humans, we sometimes make mistakes. Things happen in our lives that affect us deeply. Knowing this, Bob does what he can to make someone’s day better, whether by handing out treats or simply having a quick chat and offering a warm smile.

Bob can regularly be seen selling tickets for various fundraisers. He truly cares about the residents and team at Orchard Court and uses the funds to treat the team with a pizza party or to buy something for his fellow residents. When Bob noticed that residents were having trouble hearing bingo numbers, he raised money to buy a monitor so residents could also see the numbers. He is currently working on raising money to put a TV in a common area so residents can have movie nights on the weekends…with popcorn!

Bob will tell you this work keeps him very busy and very happy.

Both sides of the connection coin

July 8, 2019

A truly meaningful connection is, almost by definition, reciprocal. Often, we only hear one side of the story, but there are always at least two. Today’s Great Connection provides a unique opportunity to see both sides of the connection coin. Below, resident Laurencia Kavanaugh and Parkland in the Valley Recreation Coordinator Taylor Noftell share their heartfelt gratitude for each other’s presence and dedication to community.

I would like to share my story regarding the excellent care that is given here at Parkland in the Valley. A few months back I was very ill. I was bedridden for eleven days and unable to leave my apartment. I would like to specifically highlight the team members who went above and beyond for me during this vulnerable time. When Shelly, who is in housekeeping, came in to clean my apartment, I told her not to bother and that she should try to stay away from me so she would not catch the dreadful flu I had. Shelly went quickly to find a caregiver who could assess me. She brought Holly, who knew I was very sick and needed to be monitored. I was so swollen that I was unable to even open a can of soup for myself. The team made sure I got all the nutrients I needed and constantly went out of their way to check on me. The care I received was phenomenal; they all worked as a team to ensure I received top-notch service despite being stuck in my room.

Laurencia Kavanaugh, Parkland in the Valley resident

Laurencia may have a story to share regarding her experience at Parkland in the Valley, but we have one too. Laurencia is an amazing lady who is humble and goes out of her way to make small gestures for everyone here at Parkland in the Valley. Laurencia is an excellent baker who frequently spreads her love through her cooking. Recently she baked up a storm in support of residents at Embassy Hall. She personally donated baked goods to our Bazaar sale in June. She made molasses cookies, whoopee pies, rolls and lemon loaves and even came over to help sell the items. When we tried to give back to her, she told us appreciation was enough for her and that she enjoys doing these acts of kindness and without expecting anything back. Laurencia also made May baskets for residents and delivered them door-to-door for the month of May. This put a smile on everyone’s face and taught us a lot about the importance of our community. Laurencia breaks down barriers between independent, assisted living and nursing home. She shows everyone how important each department is and highlights all team members. It’s difficult even to try to put into words the love she shows to everyone each and every day.

Taylor Noftell, Parkland in the Valley Recreation Coordinator

Boating for every body

July 5, 2019

It’s difficult to overstate the importance of the Great Connections we make with the communities we call home. By building meaningful relationships with people, organizations, places and our natural surroundings, we enrich our own lives as well as those of the people around us. For individuals with limited mobility, getting out into nature can sometimes be difficult, and that’s where CharterAbility comes in. We are very lucky to have a Great Partner that helps us make Great Connections with the Great Outdoors.

CharterAbility is a charity in Oakville, Ontario, dedicated to providing accessible recreational boating experiences to people who may otherwise not have an opportunity to enjoy local waterways. In the summer of 2019, Parkland on the Glen partnered with CharterAbility to take residents on a boat cruise along 16-Mile Creek and through a wildlife sanctuary right in the heart of downtown Oakville. It was a beautiful day and everyone had a wonderful time.  

Parkland on the Glen would like to thank CharterAbility for making it possible for residents to spend some time in the Great Outdoors.

Connecting for 50 years

July 4, 2019

Almost by definition, being part of a community means making Great Connections with groups of like-minded people. Many Shannex, Parkland and Faubourg residents have been active participants in a variety of organizations that work to make a difference in their communities.

Boyd Butt, resident of Embassy Hall nursing home at Parkland in the Valley, has been a member of the Masons for 50 years and just received a medal for this incredible achievement and his long-standing service to the Grand Lodge of Nova Scotia. The team that presented Boyd with the medal came to Embassy Hall to celebrate this wonderful accomplishment and meet him for the very first time.

Boyd’s picture now hangs proudly at the Grand Lodge for all to see and to recognize the impact his lifetime of contribution has had on the lives of many. According to one Embassy Hall team member, “Boyd is a leader and a remarkable man, he has blessed our lives more than words could ever describe. We are so proud of him!”

Thank you, Boyd, for the Great Connections you have made and continue to make both within the Embassy Hall community and beyond.

The magic of music

July 3, 2019

It is no secret that music has a powerful effect on our emotions. The right song can get your toes tapping, take you back to specific moment in time, calm you down or even help carry you off to sleep. Music is also a wonderful way to connect with people. Here is a story about a CCA who learned to play guitar so he could perform for residents and help them find comfort.

Darryl Finney, a Continuing Care Assistant at Celtic Court in Sydney, Nova Scotia, works very closely with residents. Through his regular interactions, he realized that there was an opportunity for more recreation activities in the late afternoon, a time of day when some residents, and one in particular, sometimes become agitated. Darryl also knew that residents respond well to music, so he came up with a plan.

He decided to learn to play guitar and share his love of music with the people he cares for and, whenever possible, take time and the end of his workday to play a few songs with the resident who has particular challenges in the afternoon. The results are heartwarming.

Darryl’s dedication to creating musical connections not only benefits the residents he performs for, but has also turned him into a bit of a community celebrity. He now organizes “pub nights” and even helps one resident keep his guitar in tip-top shape.

Perhaps the greatest thing about Great Connections is that they have a positive impact on everyone involved. Darryl may be the one with the guitar, but he benefits just as much as residents do from the time they spend together.

Sometimes you go to the community, sometimes the community comes to you

July 2, 2019

We may not think about it very often, but many of the connections we create as we go about our days are made with local businesses and vendors in our communities. These are the people we talk to when we buy farm-fresh local produce, home-made jams and jellies, hand-crafted gifts and other products in local shops and markets. And since you can’t always make it to the market, why not bring the market to you?

That’s what Parkland Truro did with its First Annual Spring Market. And what a success! With over twenty vendors offering everything from baked goods, jams and jellies, Mary Kay, Tupperware and Steeped Tea to home-made gift bags and cards and much more, the Spring Market was a huge hit with residents and families alike. Perhaps best of all, everyone is already looking forward to the holiday market this winter when all these lovely faces will be back again!

A Friendship for the Ages

June 28, 2019

Lasting friendships are one of the most powerful types of connections we experience in our lifetimes. And if we’re lucky, some of these Great Connections really do last a lifetime. Today we’re telling the story of Peggy and Pearle, who have been friends for 78 years and have no intention of stopping anytime soon.

Peggy MacAlpine is a 103-year-old resident of Parkland at the Gardens who knows a thing or two about lasting friendships. Seventy-eight years ago, a 14-year-old girl named Pearle Ross came to Halifax from PEI to look after Peggy’s young family, and the two have been friends ever since. Today Pearle and her family are spread out between Alberta and PEI, but during her recent vacation in Nova Scotia she and her five children decided to drop in to pay Peggy a visit. Not only did they have a wonderful visit, but they’re helping Peggy plan her 104th birthday party! Now that’s a friendship for the ages.

Great Global Connections

June 27, 2019

Throughout our lives, we create connections with a variety of things, including people, pets, places and cultures. Celebrating the diversity of our communities is one of the ways that Shannex strives to foster meaningful relationships not only between team members and residents, but also within our teams and with the communities to which they belong.

Cedarstone Enhanced Care in Truro, Nova Scotia, has a very special connection to the Filipino Community. In 2010, Shannex hired six Registered Nurses from the Philippines. Recently, all six people, all of whom continue to be part of the Shannex family, came together at Cedarstone to celebrate Filipino Heritage Month with music, dancing and delicious authentic cuisine. For many residents it was the first time they had seen and heard music and dance of this type before, and they absolutely loved the experience.

To Ricardo Garcia, Site Manager at Elk Court; Vonn Manahan, Site Manager at Debert Court; Michael Galera, Community Manager at Cedarstone; Maria Agcon, Community Manager at Cedarstone; Glory Andong, RN at Elk Court; and Louela Paris, RN at Cedarstone, thank you so much for the Great Connections you have made with residents, each other and the community.

Honey Bunny’s Fluffy Friendship

June 27, 2019

As anyone who has ever had a pet can confirm, animals make Great Connections too. At Parkland Riverview’s Monarch Hall, a resident rabbit named Honey Bunny offers comfort and joy to residents and team members alike. Honey Bunny, who will be four years old in August, even became a bit of a local celebrity when she was featured on Global News last year. Residents and team members interviewed for the piece made it clear that the connections they make with their furry friend are very meaningful indeed.

“She brings a sense of joy, reminiscing. A lot of them will start talking about animals they’ve had in the past” – Jannick Theriault, Recreation Coordinator

“She just picks up my spirits every time I get to hold her.” – Francis Houde, Resident

Thank you to Honey Bunny and to the team at Monarch Hall for making these Great (fluffy) Connections possible.

Honey was also featured on Global, see the story here

The Ambassador of Embassy Hall

June 26, 2019

One of the best ways to establish Great Connections is to ask questions and listen carefully to the answers. We recently asked Dale, whose mother Edna is a resident at Embassy Hall on the Parkland in the Valley campus in Quispamsis, about their experience. Thank you, Dale, for taking the time to share your Great Connection.

L-R: Edna and Dale

Here’s what Dale had to say.

I absolutely adore the staff. They go above and beyond and I can’t choose just one to recognize. I want to recognize them all, because they are all so wonderful. Whether it be housekeeping, maintenance, dietary, restorative, recreation or any nursing staff they all treat us will so much respect.Everyone interacts and they are all important parts of my mom’s day. If I call on the phone and my mom is not there to answer, they will pick up the phone and tell me where she is and what kind of day she is having. The doctors and nursing staff are quick with their approach to get my mom what she needs. They can tell when anything is off with her and what next step to take. My mom’s time is well occupied and the activities are amazing and very stimulating. My mother’s physical, emotional and spiritual needs are being met. You are getting great care and fantastic support for both family and residents that live in Embassy Hall. If you can’t be home this is the place to be!

“She is getting the best care possible and living her best life”

June 26, 2019

Making Great Connections with the people around us does more than lift our spirits, it can also have an impact on our mental and physical health. This is a story of a resident who was able to regain some of her independence thanks to the care, support and connections she experienced at Parkland Saint John. Told through the eyes of the resident’s daughter, this Great Connection is a wonderful example of the undeniable benefits of getting appropriate care in a welcoming, supportive environment like the one at Parkland Saint John and throughout our organization.

My Mom has been a resident at Parkland Saint John since the 2018. She spent four months in Howe Hall before moving to Carleton Hall, where she is today. She loves it – the staff, the activities, the field trips and the beauty salon! For my part, I am grateful. As a family member of a resident at Parkland, my biggest concern was that she was well cared for and, in that respect, I couldn’t be happier. From the moment I came for a tour to the day my Mom moved in and even now, the staff have been exceptional. They are extremely responsive and have provided my Mom with specialized and individualized care that changed as her needs changed. They are always available to me for any questions or concerns and treat my Mom with the dignity and respect, which is something that is very important to me. Thanks to their care and support, my Mom actually moved into more independent living at Carleton Hall, and I can safely say that it would not have happened without their support. From administrative staff to nursing staff to kitchen staff and cleaning staff, they have all been such an amazing support network for my Mom. They’re almost like an extended family. That helps me sleep at night, knowing she is getting the best care possible and living her best life.

With a Song in Your Heart

June 25, 2019

One of the wonderful things about Great Connections is that they come to us from many different perspectives. We get stories about exceptional resident care from family members, residents and other employees. Here is a story about Paul Healey, Continuing Care Assistant (CCA), submitted by Joy MacKinnon, Human Resources Partner, who happened upon a touching scene in the halls of Arbourstone Enhanced Care (AEC) in Halifax.

Paul has worked as a CCA for AEC for about 9 years. Last week I was visiting the floor Paul was working on. In the distance I was able to hear a beautiful angelic voice singing. When I turned to see where it was coming from and who was singing, I saw Paul with his hand on a resident’s shoulder looking at her and singing to her.

The resident looked so content and calm. I could tell that for a moment the resident was in a different world, a much happier place.

We would like to thank Paul for his amazing approach and Joy for recognizing her colleague’s dedication to care.

Say Hello to Carlos

June 24, 2019

A Great Connection can take many forms, and at Northumberland Hall, it takes the shape of a large stuffed toy named Carlos. Carlos was brought in and is taken care of by Diane, whose mother-in-law was a resident for several years. During this time Diane and her husband developed close connections with the Northumberland Hall community and, although her mother-in-law is no longer with us, the bonds created between her family and Northumberland Hall remain strong.

Here’s what Diane has to say about Carlos.

I am Diane and I live in Upper Nappan, just outside Amherst, with my husband, Victor. Victor’s mother, Helen, was a resident at Northumberland Hall from 2013 until 2017.

Carlos is named after my grandfather. At one of our regular 5-year reunions, Victor decided that we should have a mascot, a huge stuffed animal we got from a neighbour’s yard sale, and name him Carlos! Later, after Helen moved into Northumberland Hall, Victor decided Carlos should also be a resident there so he could greet folks and maybe make them smile.

From time to time I go in to change his clothing for the season, holiday or special events. When we borrowed him in 2016 for our family reunion again, we left a message that he had gone on vacation, but would return! And he did.

Thank you, Diane, for sharing your Great Connection story and for continuing to make people smile at Northumberland Hall.    

How Caregivers Make a House a Home

June 24, 2019

L-R, Naomi Black and Jean Perry

Jean Perry’s story truly represents the bonds that develop between caregivers and residents in long term care (LTC). Transitioning into life in a LTC site can be stressful and confusing for residents and families, but the actions of front-line caregivers turn an unfamiliar space into a warm place to call home.

Jean is a Continuing Care Assistant at Parkstone Enhanced Care, Naomi Black’s home. This year, Naomi felt so strongly about the positive impact Jean was having on the lives of residents, that she submitted a nomination for Jean to receive a Shannex Service Excellence Award. Jean is the first ever winner nominated by a resident!

Naomi highlighted the pride Jean takes in her work, from dancing with residents and listening to their life stories to her uncanny ability to take control of any shift she works. In fact, Jean understands the residents so well that she is able to adapt to changes in care thanks to the meaningful relationships she develops with each resident.

Jean and Naomi are a great example of the close relationships that develop when a house becomes a home.

Outstanding Care and Compassion

A letter of thanks submitted by Dave McGrattan – June 13, 2019

With the launch of the Great Connections program comes an opportunity to share a particularly moving example of why we do what we do each and every day. This letter by Dave McGrattan, companion of Doctor Janice Doull, a resident at Ryan Hall, gives a moving testimonial of what compassionate, attentive care means not only to the person receiving it, but also for the people who love them. Thank you so very much, Dave, for taking the time to share the story of your Great Connection.

To the executive management of Shannex Nova Scotia:

It was with great sadness that the family and friends of Doctor Janice Laura Doull marked her passing while under palliative care at Ryan Hall in Bridgewater, NS, on May 30th, 2019.

Janice had been a resident in the Mariner wing for the past several years. As her closest friend and constant companion, I had the privilege of visiting Jan for seven hours a day, seven days a week, during her entire stay at Ryan Hall. I quite possibly spent more time there than the majority of your employees as I never took any planned days off from my visiting schedule. During the extensive time period I spent with Janice, one thing was consistently clear: the quality of care she received at your fine facility. Jan loved those who attended her, in any capacity, and it was obvious her affection was reciprocated by many.

The vast majority of the employees at Ryan Hall, including the current site manager, Kim Clattenburg, nursing staff, caregivers, house-keeping and maintenance/tech personnel, recreation staff and volunteers, along with therapists, dieticians and administrative support workers, went well above and beyond the call of duty, on a daily basis, in their care of my dear friend, Janice. Indeed, I witnessed that same care being extended to the other clients in residence, as well. Your organization is to be truly commended on the high degree of professional competence and the ever-evident empathy of all your Ryan Hall employees.

It was during her final few days that the superior quality and caring of your Bridgewater personnel truly made an incredible difference to Jan, as well as to me. 

Kim Clattenburg stayed well past her regular working hours to support and advise Jan’s family and friends. The nursing staff and caregivers were nothing short of wonderful in their ongoing attempts to keep Janice (and me, for that matter) comfortable during that crucial time period. As a result of their collective efforts, when her time came, Jan passed away gently and peacefully in her sleep.

Because of their outstanding care and compassion for my dear friend, Doctor Janice Doull, I will be forever grateful to and appreciative of the exemplary staff at Ryan Hall.


Dave McGrattan

A Visit from Nipper

June 11, 2019

Sometimes coincidence can lead to the most amazing connections. One of our team members, Recreation Coordinator Amanda Banks, recently made a mission out of creating a Great Connection for Carol, a resident whose dog had moved to a new forever home when she moved into Frederick Hall in Fredericton. This is a heart-warming example of how a little extra thought and effort goes a very long way. 

Here is the story.

Amanda Banks, Recreation Coordinator at Frederick Hall in Fredericton, had no way to know that wearing her Caught You Being Great jacket to her dog’s obedience lesson would have such far-reaching consequences. A woman approached her to ask if Amanda worked at Shannex, then proceeded to explain that she had just adopted a dog from a woman who went to live at a Shannex residence. Amanda quickly deduced that the woman in question was Carol Buckley, a resident of Frederick Hall, and asked the woman for her number so she could get back to her. The woman must have thought that this was all very mysterious! 

Amanda’s next step was to talk to Carol to confirm that the dog she had just met was in fact Carol’s beloved pet. When asked if she had a dog before moving to Frederick Hall, Carol tearfully replied that she did and his name is Nipper. Amanda told Carol that she had found Nipper and that he would love to come for a visit. Amanda made all the arrangements and, when the big day came, Carol and Nipper had a truly touching reunion.

Thank you, Amanda, for making Great Connections that mean so much to residents and their four-footed friends!