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 support. 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. We introduced Evelyn at the View’s, Herb at Glacier View Lodge, and for our final feature, meet 84-year-old, Jean Airth.
Jean came to live at Cumberland Lodge almost four years ago, however she is no newcomer to the Comox Valley having lived in our community for almost eighty years.
Jean was born in Saskatchewan on December 26, 1936. The following year Saskatchewan experienced one of the worst droughts in history when the “breadbasket of Canada” could barely grow wheat due to extreme heat and low precipitation. During these hard economic times, Jean’s family moved to Port Coquitlam and then eventually to the Comox Valley. Jean was six years old when they arrived on the east coast of Vancouver Island; it was 1942, the world was at war. Fortunately, Jean’s father had found a good paying job as a mechanic and was able to purchase a home for his family.
After high school, Jean attended Douglas College and studied bookkeeping. She met her husband, Gordon, in the Valley and was married for 49 years. She worked with her husband as a property manager and a bookkeeper while raising their three sons.
Jean loves her family and believes “a family that plays together, stays together,” which is exactly how she lived her life in those precious middle years. She involved her children in everything she did and loved to teach them things like cooking and gardening. She often talks about special family memories when her family would travel in their RV around the Island. Jean loves to read, swim, play cards, browse the newspaper, and really enjoys coffee, in fact, she almost always has a cup of coffee in hand and especially loves the mochas that Cumberland Lodge staff make for her.
Jean keeps busy involving herself in everything that goes on in and around the home. She is always trying to help others. Jean has some difficulty with her memory due to dementia but gets reminders from staff and carries on gracefully. You can usually find her walking around and taking part in activities.
When asked about her favorite things at the Lodge, Jean said, “the food, the activities like bus rides, and the staff, they take care of everything, what else could you want?”
Jean is appreciated by fellow residents and her caregivers as someone who welcomes everyone. When asked, Jean says she values the openness and kindness the staff have for all people, not surprisingly the same attributes that endear people to her.
“Jean is beloved by all Cumberland Lodge staff and the other residents. She is always up for a chat over coffee or a game of cards, and we feel honoured to care for her in this stage of her life,” expresses Nicole Sherwood, Clinical Nurse Leader at Cumberland Lodge.
People like Jean make the Lodge a home, creating a sense of belonging… a sense of family.