It is our honour to introduce you to three long-term care residents through a three-part sharing series. These individuals live in each of the long-term care homes we are supporting through our CARVE initiative . Our goal is to unveil the heart of these residents and celebrate some of the special details of their lives which are important to celebrate and our privilege to share.
For our first feature, meet Evelyn. She is a relatively new resident of the View’s at St. Joseph’s.
Evelyn was born outside of Estevan, Saskatchewan on November 11th, 1930. She came from a farming family which involved milking cows, riding horses, catching pesky groundhogs, gardening, and walking three miles to and from school each day. Evelyn grew up with two brothers and one sister and they stayed close their whole lives. Evelyn’s first job was in a Christian hospital. This experience shaped Evelyn’s deep religious faith and her focus on community service.
Evelyn left Saskatchewan and moved to Port Alberni following the large family who lived on the neighbouring farm, a family with thirteen children, loved ones who remained lifelong friends over the years.
Evelyn is a strong-minded, independent, and determined person. These qualities served her well when her first marriage ended in divorce and she became a single mother, rare in those days. She worked in one of the local sawmills and provided for herself and her daughter. Evelyn soon met and married her husband of 64 years and they had three children together. The couple built a house together with little carpentry experience and lived in the house for 55 years along with their four children.
Evelyn is described as a super mom, involved in everything her children did. They were a soccer family back then. All the kids played while Evelyn wore out the grass on the sidelines cheering and instructing players, referees, and coaches. One of her son’s even went on to play for the Vancouver Whitecaps.
She was the pitcher on her baseball team, an avid quilter, the family genealogist, a hiker, and she loved spending summers swimming and enjoying Sproat Lake. When Evelyn wasn’t engaged in family activities or active pursuits, she was volunteering in the community or for the church.
Evelyn and her husband moved to the Comox Valley thirteen years ago to be close to her daughter, 3 grandchildren, and 8 great grandchildren. They enjoyed almost a decade living in their Comox home and loved the area and having family close by.
Evelyn’s journey with dementia started about three years ago. Her husband and daughter cared for her up until she moved to The Views in 2021. As difficult as it was to care for her at home, it was heart wrenching for Evelyn and her husband to be separated so when an Island Health nurse found a placement for her at the Views, close enough for daily visits, Evelyn’s family felt tremendous relief and gratitude.
“The nature of dementia means my mom has no memory of us being there everyday. Consequently, we get a heartfelt thank-you every day for our visits. The care she is receiving is exceptional. The staff have given great transitional support to all the family, they are always welcoming and inclusive in anything we can do while keeping within COVID guidelines,” shares Evelyn’s daughter.
Soon to celebrate her 91st birthday, Evelyn participates in most of the activities offered in her new home with art and physical games being her favourite.
Evelyn’s contribution to the world around her is significant, her wisdom doesn’t come from formal education, it comes from living a full life.
“When you go through your life there will be all kinds of things wrong with the world, most of these things you won’t be able to do anything about. Lose yourself in service to others and you won’t have any time to think about those things,” Evelyn would routinely advise. This principle continues to guide her daughter who instills this wisdom with her own children and grandchildren.
This is Evelyn’s living legacy.
The Comox Valley Healthcare Foundation is offering a twist on the age-old Halloween tradition that is more about brightening than frightening and is a fun opportunity for the community to connect with seniors in a unique way. CARVE participants will be gifting their creations to the Foundation who will then deliver the pumpkins to The Views at St. Joseph’s, Cumberland Lodge, Glacier View Lodge, and to clients’ homes through Island Health’s Home Care Support Services.
Sponsored by Brian McLean Chevrolet Buick GMC in collaboration with Thrifty Foods, registration is free, and carving is done from the comfort of home. Pre-registration online is required as display space is limited. Participants are asked to drop off their carved pumpkins on October 24th to a convenient, Courtenay location that will be emailed upon registration. For more information or to register, visit https://www.canadahelps.org/en/charities/comox-valley-healthcare-foundation/events/carve/