We are Better Together: stories of strength, resilience and teamwork
We know the importance that social connectedness has in improving quality of life. During any challenging time, our communities are known to come together, supporting one another to find strength, to adapt as a community, to overcome challenges and recover together.
As a family owned business, those who come to live and work with us become a part of our family. Whether it’s celebrating a birthday, providing compassionate care or serving a meal, our teams are dedicated to ensuring those who live with us are having meaningful social connections each and every day. The focus of the Better Together program is to celebrate and share all of the good happening at our communities and to recognize the resiliency of our frontline teams, residents and family members.
Sarah Anne Fahey – Resident
A lot has changed, but not everything.
We believe every Shannex, Parkland and Faubourg community is more than a place to live or work. We are a community of people and friendships where the focus is on providing service and care in a place residents call home.
It is this culture of trust and understanding that transforms a place into a home. And over the past few months, our families have faced challenging times together which has strengthened the bonds between residents and team members.
Sarah Anne Fahey has dedicated her life to caring for others and is proud to be a retired nurse. She calls Harbourstone Enhanced Care in Sydney, Nova Scotia home. As a medical professional, she understands the need for precautions to safeguard every resident. “It was like when I was working myself, if there was a virus… you had to take precautions,” shares Sarah. “This is a very serious illness.”
Earlier this year, Sarah was in shock to find out she herself had tested positive for COVID-19. In facing her diagnosis, she took comfort in those around her and what made the difference for her was how her community surrounded her with comfort and love. At diagnosis, Sarah was admitted to Harbourstone’s Designated Care Area, which was created to care for those who test positive for COVID-19. After recovery, Sarah returned to her home in the Fishermen’s Cove neighbourhood at Harbourstone.
“I have never witnessed in my entire life how people could show you so much love. They (the staff) were exceptional. They couldn’t do enough for you. I am happy here. The team tries to accommodate each and every resident to make them feel at home. Because this is home.”
Sarah acknowledges she is “very lucky” to have made a full recovery. The day she tested negative for the virus and was released from the Designated Care Area was filled with mixed emotions.
However, the Harbourstone team were certainly glad to have her back. She was welcomed to her neighbourhood with a celebration which included balloons, cake and of course open arms. Sarah has a well-known sweet tooth and the team made sure her bed was covered in her favourite candy. When she questioned why all the fuss? The answer was: Because we are so happy to have you home. Sarah, we are so proud to have you as a member of our Shannex community. Your story and positivity continue to inspire us. We are Better Together.
Joan Gallant – Family Member
A lot has changed, but not everything.
Over the past 30 years, we have seen the power personal connections have in the lives of residents in our communities. That’s why, when visitor restrictions were put in place, our team members recognized that, more than ever, they needed to be there for residents when their loved ones could not. Whether it was celebrating milestones or being there during a hard day, they took this role very seriously and continue to do so every day.
Joan Gallant’s mother Marion has been a resident at Cedarstone Enhanced Care for nearly two years. Joan admits she initially had concerns with how her mother’s personal emotional wellbeing would be safeguarded with the pandemic visitor restrictions. Joan stayed connected with her mother through regular phone calls. She says although it was challenging not being able to see her in person, the wellness team at Shannex helped to facilitate virtual visits through Facetime for Joan and her family, allowing them to connect with her mother.
“We have all missed seeing her in person, but again, the staff at Shannex were diligent in offering virtual visits, and we were delighted to be able to connect with our mother via Facetime. It was rather emotional to see her for the first time after the ‘lock down’, and a new way to communicate. It was (and is) greatly appreciated! Mum is now a bit of a pro! And… with the recent announcement of outside visits, we are looking forward to being able to actually see our mother in person safely. Yes, let’s celebrate the good around us, and always commit ourselves to constantly evolving, and making these residents’ homes and lives – the best they can be.”
Joan commends the team members at Cedarstone for the roles they play in enriching residents’ lives.“Overall, I have found the staff to be knowledgeable, caring and open to any conversations – regardless of the topics – as they relate to the care of the residents they look after. When you work with vulnerable people, you must be compassionate, caring and understanding. Furthermore, we must all remember, that as each of us makes our way along life’s path, we have no idea how and where the path will lead. Therefore, we must all encourage each other to care for one another, through all the obstacles that inevitably come our way. I believe that Cedarstone has accomplished this for my mother, and other residents. I would certainly recommend Shannex as a place to live.”Thank you to our families for putting your trust in us. We are always better together.
Sandy Wilson – Shannex Superstar
Sandy is a Continuing Care Assistant who works at our Arborstone Enhanced Care community. She has been providing care to Shannex residents for 23 years.
When an opportunity arose to volunteer to provide care and comfort to residents diagnosed with COVID-19, Sandy was one of many who stepped forward to work in one of the Designated Care Areas (DCAs). DCAs are contained environments that allow us to care for residents who test positive with COVID-19, without risking the spread to other residents and team members.
When asked what motivated her to volunteer, Sandy says, “When I heard about this opportunity, it really spoke to me. I have a lot of experience providing compassionate support for those who are ill or require heavy care. I was up for the challenge.”
Sandy took many safety measures while caring for residents during the pandemic. Sandy says team members are screened daily, are required to wear medical masks and all team members have been diligent to ensure residents aren’t displaying any symptoms. When entering the DCA, these safety measures increased to full PPE from head to toe. Sandy says she felt safe coming home while working in the DCA and was so grateful for the support of her husband, who sanitized their home regularly and ran all the errands allowing Sandy to safely isolate in their home.
When asked what kept her motivated to go above and beyond, Sandy attributes her motivation for her passion for her work, and the new team members she met in the DCA. “I did not know anybody when I volunteered to work in the DCA. We became close…like a family. We have requested that if Shannex reopens the DCA that we can work together again.”
Sandy is one of many Superstar team members working at Shannex. On behalf of all of us at Shannex, we recognize and thank our team members who continue to respond and adapt. Because, while a lot has changed, Sandy and the over 4000 other team members at Shannex will always be there for residents and their families.