Home > À propos > Great Connections

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.


A woman of duty and honour

November 11, 2019

A Woman of Duty and Honour

If you walk through the halls of our communities in the weeks leading up to Remembrance Day you can feel something hanging in the air. It is as if the building’s heart is beating with a sense of pride and dedication. Poppies are worn proudly by almost every resident you meet.

If you are luckily enough, you get to sit and chat with someone, it could be a team member or a resident, who has stories to share of a very remarkable life. Ruth Kells is one of those people.

Ruth Kells, veteran and resident of Parkland at the Lakes, a retirement living location in Dartmouth

She began her military carer with The Royal Canadian Air Force in January 1944 completing basic training in Ottawa, followed by a six-month course in Montreal as a wireless operator. Working sometimes as a stenographer and others as an operator, Ruth was stationed at posts all across Canada from Nova Scotia to British Columbia. In 1950, Ruth decided to resign and return home to Nova Scotia.

However, Ruth felt a calling during the Korean conflict and decided to return to her military roots as a wireless operator and also joined the RCAF Reserve in Ottawa spending weekends at RCAF Station in Foymount, Ontario. It was there that she was approached to become the Civilian Personnel Officer for the Station and eventually assumed the role of Directorate of Special Radio Activities.

Ottawa didn’t just bring Ruth into the RCAF Reserves, it also brought her in contact with a man named Wesley Kells, a Lt. Colonel in the Canadian Army who designed and developed signal equipment. Wesley would visit Ruth at Foymount and they married in 1957 and had a son.

In 1989, after her first entry into the military 45 years previous, Ruth decided to retire. However, she remains a very active member of the Royal Canadian Legion and the Royal Canadian Air Force Association. Ruth was nominated to represent all the Canadian Legions across Canada in Dieppe, France for the 75th Dieppe anniversary, laying wreaths at cenotaphs.

Thank you Ruth for your long standing service and dedication.

A moment of reflection: A father’s story

November 9, 2019

Military service runs through the veins of a family in the Colchester Cumberland region. The patriarch Harold McNutt, a WWII veteran and father of seven, has instilled a sense of duty and honour not only in military service but in giving back to your own community through volunteerism. Two of Harold’s sons have served in the Canadian Armed Forces, one as a Peacekeeper, and his daughter Karen Lomond married a man who was enrolled in the military. His two grandsons growing up were also involved in Cadets, which makes him very proud.

Harold, we are certainly honoured to share your story, through your daughter Karen’s eyes, and want to thank you for your service to our country and your community.

https://youtu.be/K-f7eAbdcuY

A helping hand at Harbourstone

October 30, 2019

Every day, our team works hard to provide exceptional care to residents. It is inspiring to hear about how team members make a positive impact not just our resident’s lives but in those of their families as well. Thank you, Wentworth Court and every member of the Shannex family.

This is the story of Blanche Roper, as told by her children Doreen, Sharon, David and Pam.

Our mom lived in Wentworth Court at Harbourstone in Sydney for the last eighteen months of her life.  From the very first moment mom moved there, we were reassured to see how well she was being cared for. What really impressed us, though, was seeing how much the staff also cared about her. Always professional, they showed their affection with gentle teasing and their delight that she was able to “give as good as she got.” It gave us such peace of mind to know that she was exactly where she needed to be in such capable, caring hands. 

A few weeks ago, Mom suffered a rapid decline and it became obvious that we were going to have to say good-bye to her. During the last week of her life, we lived first-hand the type of exceptional care that the team at Wentworth Court provide. They were always mindful of her dignity and well-being, even as she slipped away and was non-responsive. The same care was extended to us whether it was the offer of tea and toast, contacting her minister, or providing extra blankets and pillows as we stayed overnight. Above all, they shared their experiences of working with her. We drew such tremendous comfort to hear that they really liked her, enjoyed her company, and respected who she was, especially her strength, sense of humour, and lovely, positive outlook on life.

The staff of Wentworth Court made an incredibly difficult experience easier for us. We are so grateful and want to commend them for their wonderful work.


Celebrating fall, celebrating community

October 18, 2019

Fall is full of wonderful things: beautiful colours, turkey dinners, kids in Hallowe’en costumes, pumpkin pie and so much more. Many of these things bring people together, and bringing people together is what turns a dinner or a pumpkin-carving contest into a Great Connection.

This fall, Northumberland Hall in Amherst, Nova Scotia, celebrated the arrival of fall by inviting the community to join residents and team members for an afternoon of entertainment and refreshments. It was a very eventful day indeed. Not only did they welcome a new Regional Manager, Stephanie Miles, and new team members from India and the Philippines, there was dancing and singing too. Thank you very much to the team members who performed and to Music Therapist Emily Frizzell for leading residents in song.

Events like these are an essential part of why Shannex communities are home to so many Great Connections.  


The wheels of connection

October 10, 2019

Sometimes the simplest things make a huge difference. It’s probably not a surprise to hear that riding a bike is a great way to boost morale. But did you know that riding a bike, whether you’re the one pedaling or not, can combat depression? And what better why to create meaningful connections than riding a bike together? This story is about how Celtic Court in Sydney, Cape Breton, heard about the Duet Bike, which is designed to allow people who cannot pedal themselves to enjoy the benefits of riding.

We interviewed two Celtic Court team members, RN Mary Lee Drake and Recreation and Volunteer Coordinator Mairibeth Reilly, who were happy to tell us all about it.

Mary Lee:      

Dr. Jamie Ferguson, who is our gerontologist in Sydney, was talking about this bike she had seen and how it combatted depression. I said I saw the same video and thought we could buy it, but it was too much money. And she said to me “Mary Lee, the money will come, all you need is the will”. And I thought, Oh my God, maybe she’s right.

So I went to Mairibeth and I said, “what do you think, do you think we can do this?”, and she jumped on board with me and we started fundraising. While we were raising the money, Jason Shannon came down for a visit and I talked to Jason and I was showing him the bike and he said “I’ll tell you what, whatever you raise, I’ll match it.”

Mairibeth:

Every single day there would be 5 dollars tucked into an envelope and slid under my office door or a cheque for $400 mailed in. And it was amazing. But all of a sudden our Facebook posts about fundraising were going all across Canada and people in BC and Saskatchewan and Alberta were calling Celtic Court to ask about the bike and ask what we were doing with it. And other places that had the Duet bike were calling me and telling me to keep fundraising because it would change our whole facility once we got it.

You see their smiles and you hear their laughter and that’s why we go into recreation. As a recreation professional that’s what you want.

Mary Lee:

There just so much joy with the bike. It was the best purchase ever. It’s the best thing in 30 years, 35 years. I’ve never seen anything that has brought so much joy to this population.


Home is where your PALs are

September 5, 2019

One of the comments we hear over and over again from residents in our communities is that the people who work there feel like family and that our buildings feel like home. According to one couple, the first time they visited Parkland at the Lakes (PAL) “was like we were walking into our own home”.

Recently we met with 84-year-old Anna and 82-year-old Bob, who always seem to have a smile and a kind word for everyone, in their suite at PAL in Dartmouth. According to Bob,

“The biggest asset here is the staff. The staff are fantastic. We’re not treated like residents, we’re treated like brothers, sisters, uncles, aunts, grandparents, parents. There’s no such thing as a worker here. They help us.”

Anna was particularly impressed with the team when she and Bob were moving from one suite to another. It looked as though she would not be able to watch her “stories” for four days because of delays getting cable hooked up, but was pleasantly surprised when the Parkland team showed up to make sure that she didn’t miss a single day.

Truly Great Connections are a two-way street, and it’s clear that Bob and Anna are just as popular with the team as the team is with them. Thank you much for being such delightful members of our community!


Making time

August 26, 2019

Perhaps the most important ingredient in any Great Connection is time. The time we take to share, the time we make to listen. Taking a moment to connect is how we build the relationships that make community living such a rewarding experience for both team members and residents. Some people seem to have a special talent for this, and one of them works at Bissett Court in Nova Scotia.

A member of the recreation team, Sonia Michaud can often be seen helping Continuing Care Assistants and her fellow team members as they support residents in living their best lives. Sonia is so popular that many residents go to the Wellness Centre just to spend time with her. In addition to her professional duties, Sonia can be seen doing nails, helping with bingo and walking with residents. Even when she’s busy, she finds time to give residents her complete attention and develop lasting connections. Bissett Court is very grateful to have such a wonderful person on their team!   


Connexions réconfortantes

22 août 2019

(English follows)

Une des plus belles choses de la vie dans une communauté de retraite, c’est la grande variété de personnes qui y habitent. La présence du continuum complet de soins et de services en un seul et même lieu permet l’établissement de liens enrichissants entre personnes ayant divers niveaux d’indépendance et favorise un sentiment d’appartenance. Les personnes indépendantes créent souvent des liens d’amitié avec celles ayant besoin de plus de soins, ce qui peut mener à de beaux gestes, comme celui-ci.

Au Faubourg du Mascaret à Moncton, les personnes résidant au Pavillon LeBlanc ont décidé de ramasser des fonds pour acheter un cadeau très spécial pour les personnes vivant au Pavillon Richard, le foyer de soins du complexe. Le groupe a organisé de nombreuses activités de collecte de fonds, notamment la vente de cartes des Fêtes, signets, cartes de vœux, mitaines, chaussettes, foulards, etc., afin d’acheter une poupée Ashton-Drake Galleries. Il est connu que ces poupées réalistes sont bénéfiques pour plusieurs personnes habitant dans les foyers de soins, qui aiment leur faire des câlins et en prendre soin. Tout le monde aime tellement la poupée qu’elle a maintenant un nom : Chloé Richard!

Merci beaucoup à tout le monde au Pavillon LeBlanc de ce geste de profonde amitié envers les personnes résidentes du Pavillon Richard!


Comforting connections

August 22, 2019

One of the many wonderful things about retirement living communities is the variety of residents who live there. Having the entire lifestyle continuum on one campus creates opportunities for rewarding connections between residents with varying levels of independence and encourages a sense of belonging. Independent residents often develop friendships with residents who require more care, and this can lead to some touching gestures, as in this story.

At Faubourg du Mascaret in Moncton, residents at Pavillon LeBlanc decided to raise money to purchase a very special gift for residents of Pavillon Richard, the community’s nursing home. They organized several fundraising activities, including selling holiday cards, bookmarks, greeting cards, mittens, socks, scarves and more, in order to buy an Ashton-Drake Galleries doll. These life-like dolls are known to be beneficial for many nursing home residents, who enjoy cuddling and caring for them. Everyone loves the doll so much that they gave her a name, Chloé Richard!

Thank you so very much to the residents of Pavillon LeBlanc for being such wonderful friends to Pavillon Richard!


An ode for a nurse

August 19, 2019

Nursing homes are communities in every sense of the word. With so many people from different walks of life living and working together, Great Connections are bound to happen. Everyone brings their own unique way of connecting and making these communities wonderful places to be. This story is about a Continuing Care Assistant (CCA) who, in addition to providing residents with excellent care, wrote a lovely poem to honour the hard work and compassion that are part of every caregiver’s job.  

Sean Hammond has been working as a CCA at Arborstone Enhanced Care in Halifax for many years. Although he may look more like a football player than a poet, he writes lovely poems that capture the gratitude residents and coworkers feel for the excellent, compassionate care nurses provide every day. The poem below, written for a retiring nurse, is framed and hung on the wall for all to enjoy. Thank you, Sean, for your hard work and your kind words.

An ode for a nurse  

We'll all miss you
This is no lie
Treasure memories
From years gone by

You're a good nurse
And a fine friend
We won't work with
One like you again

You cared for the young
You cared for the old
From years of service
A story can be told

From the love you gave
And sacrifices made
For those in need
Whose memories fade

Your friendly smile
And your gentle spirit
Comforting words
Who need to hear it

You comforted
And formed a bond
With those who passed
Who you grew fond

For those you've seen cry
You held their hand
And seen the pain
Not many understand

You took the time
No matter the cost
For those mourning
The loved one lost

So after we part
Come visit, feel free
We eagerly await
Your company

And never forget
You're one of the few
Who perform great tasks
Not many can do.

- Sean Hammond, CCA, Arborstone Enhanced Care


Where everybody knows your name

August 15, 2019

In every community, there are people who just seem to know everyone and everything, who are always where they need to be when they need to be there. The Great Connections they create become part of the community’s backbone, someone everyone can relate to. Here is the story of John Delorey, Concierge at Parkland on the Glen in Mississauga and one of its longest-standing employees.

One of Parkland on the Glen’s first employees, John Delorey lives nearby and is always willing to come and lend a hand, even when he’s not on duty. He knows every last one of the residents by name and greets them whenever they are in the vicinity.

John was involved when the property was built some ten or eleven years ago, and appears to know the ins and outs of every inch of the building. Over the years he has hosted holiday parties for employees at The Glenerin Inn and is called upon to officiate at other employee functions. 

Ask any resident about John and they will be happy to tell you all about how much he brings to Parkland on the Glen. Thanks so much, John!


Volunteering, family-style

August 12, 2019

Because time is our most precious resource, taking a few minutes out of a busy day to spend with someone who could use a helping hand or a kind ear is one of the most compassionate things a person can do. The Great Connections our team members and volunteers create with residents are an essential part of what makes our communities welcoming, vibrant and stimulating places that everyone can be proud to call home. This is the story of one team member who makes volunteering a family affair!

Celtic Court in Sydney, Nova Scotia, is very lucky to have a truly inspiring Continuing Care Assistant named Hannah Gouthro. Not only is she a wonderful team member, but she gets the whole family involved! Two members of her extended family and dog are such regular volunteers that the home’s Recreation Programmer made volunteer badges for them. Whether it’s a hug, a laugh, a craft or just a smile to brighten someone’s day, residents always enjoy their visits and look forward to seeing them again.


Family fundraising

August 8, 2019

One of the wonderful things about Great Connections is the way they can grow and change over time. What began as an offering of support to a grandmother with breast cancer has continued for many years and been transformed into a family effort to fundraise for Alzheimer’s research. Not only does Team Jane raise money to support their grandmother who lives at Monarch Hall on the grounds of Parkland Riverview, but the funds they collect go back out into the community to help others living with the disease.

Here is the story of Team Jane in the words of Jane’s granddaughter Sara.

For the past 11 years, my siblings and I have been participating in the CIBC Run for the Cure in support of my grandmother Jane Eaton, a breast cancer survivor. Over the years, we have collectively raised thousands of dollars to go towards this cause. We believe that it is important to not only show our support for the cause and our Grammy, but also work towards finding a cure.

Since our Grammy was diagnosed with Alzheimer’s disease in 2013, our focus has shifted. When my younger sister Katie and I heard about the Walk for Alzheimer’s, we knew it was something we wanted to participate in. We wanted the opportunity to get together as a family in support of our grandmother and, like the Run for a Cure, have an opportunity to financially support a cause so dear to our hearts.

This year, Team Jane collectively raised $1,395. With five founding members, Team Jane is only in its first of what we hope will be many years participating in this walk. My parents Shannon and Mike walked alongside me, my sister Katie and our grandfather Bob. Our grandparents both used to live in Royal Court [Parkland Riverview, New Brunswick]. Bob still lives there and Jane is now at Monarch Hall. We are already thinking about the walk next year, and hope to have even more of the family join us and top our current fundraising efforts.


Memories of maple syrup

August 6, 2019

We all know that food can evoke powerful memories. Whether it’s the smell of bread reminding us of our mother’s baking or the taste of fresh strawberries transporting us back to the berry-picking days of our youth, food is one of the many ways we connect with our past and with each other. In Shannex nursing homes in New Brunswick, we work with a partner organization called Compass to provide residents with the best in food, housekeeping and laundry services. This is the story of a Great Connection between a Compass team member who loves her job and a Shannex resident who enjoys French toast.

Pam Jeffers, a Compass team member working at Parkland in the Valley in Quispamsis, New Brunswick, can’t imagine working anywhere else. One day she was tidying up after having made and served French toast with maple syrup. Seeing that one of the residents had cleaned his plate, she commented, “Either you were hungry, or I’m a good cook”. After bringing him seconds, the resident told her that the meal reminded him of when, as a boy, he would go with his grandfather to tap trees and bring the sap back to his grandmother, who then would boil it and serve freshly-made syrup over pancakes. According to Pam, bringing back memories like these is a very important part of her job.

There can be no doubt that these moments of connection play a significant role in helping residents live their best life. Thank you to Pam and every Compass and Shannex team member for the work they do every day to create connections, small and large, with residents and their families.  


Not all sharks live in the water

August 1, 2019

It’s no secret that games of all kinds are a wonderful way to create Great Connections. Whether it’s bridge, curling, trivia or, in this case, pool, working together or in friendly competition in a casual atmosphere can be as rewarding as it is fun. One team member at Parkland Riverview organized a pool tournament that brought residents together and gave them an opportunity to share their skills on the felt. And it turns out that there are a few sharks in Riverview, New Brunswick, that don’t live in the water.

Team member Luc Poirier of Parkland Riverview recently organized a resident pool tournament. A skilled pool player himself, Luc guided residents throughout the evening by explaining the rules, organizing match-ups and lending a hand with some of the trickier shots. For some residents, it was far from the first time they’d held a cue. Luc’s partner for most of the evening was Sister Marie and, like him, she proved to be a regular pool shark. Everyone had a wonderful time, with some residents trying pool for the very first time! In the end, Luc lost the championship match to Royal Court resident Don MacDougall in a very close match. Don also put on a great show for everyone at the end with a number of trick shots he picked up over the years. Thank you to Luc for such a great event and to the residents who made it so much fun!


Memories are for sharing

July 29, 2019

There are few things in life that are certain, but one of them is that every person’s journey eventually comes to an end. When someone we care about leaves us, the most precious thing we get to keep are the memories of what they brought into our lives. In our communities, coming together to celebrate residents who have left us is an important way to maintain those connections and strengthen bonds among residents, families, volunteers and team members.   

At Elk Court Enhanced Care in Nova Scotia, Recreation Coordinator Jannis Sanford created a new way to celebrate the lives of residents who are no longer with us. With the help of volunteers, she created beautiful memory jars, filled them with written memories of each resident lost and presented the jars to family members during a celebration of life ceremony. This casual event, which was designed to encourage residents, family members and families to exchange stories, acknowledged the losses families were experiencing as well as what Elk Court team members were feeling. As one team member put it, “as caregivers, we have the absolute honour and privilege of getting to know these wonderful people. We learn from them and love them – and we miss them when they are gone“.


A top-drawer afternoon

July 25, 2019

Few things create Great Connections like sharing a little of who we are and where we come from. Cultural traditions are an important part of our lives, and sharing them with people we care about is often a fun and meaningful way to establish new connections and deepen existing ones.

Parkstone Enhanced Care’s Mount Lane neighbourhood is home to a large number of residents hailing from Newfoundland and Labrador. As a way of celebrating their roots and making sure everyone had a good time doing it, Mount Lane decided to host some “Newfie Day” festivities and give residents a chance to share their traditions and get a little taste of home. One Parkstone team member, Christine, took it upon herself to organize the event with singing, dancing and, of course, “kissing the cod”, a traditional rite of passage for visitors to the province. It sounds like Mount Lane has a few new honorary Newfoundlanders!


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.

Sincerely,

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!