When asked what the secret to her long life is, Jean shrugs her shoulders, but her daughter, Lynn, is quick to pipe up on her behalf. “I think her secret is that she’s worked hard all of her life and to this day she remains active. That, and she has the best attitude. Mom is so positive and looks for the good in every situation.” Jean admits she does keep busy, especially since she moved into her Chartwell retirement residence. “I don’t have time to be bored here. When I wake up, I have a shower and go down for breakfast. After that I exercise—sometimes I even attend chair yoga—and we play Bingo three times a week.” She also enjoys the home’s many outings, including their “mystery bus tours,” where residents are taken to surprise destinations. “They take us to different parts of the city. In the fall we drive around looking at the coloured leaves, and at Christmas we view all the lights and decorations,” Jean says. “We also celebrate birthdays once a month with big cakes. There always seems to be a party going on.”
Carmel and Cathy are like the female version of Abbot and Costello. Their close relationship is marked by clever quips, frequent laughter and plenty of good-natured teasing. In fact, the comedic mother-daughter duo even finish one another’s sentences, though they may not realize it.
It all started on a wintery day at a train station in Terrace Bay, Ontario. While Loreen waited on an empty platform with her male friend, awaiting a train that would take them to Schreiber to see a midnight movie, the temperature dropped to a frigid -40˚C. Noticing their discomfort, Cecil, a night operator with CP Rail, invited them to warm up in his ticket office. Loreen remembers the moment well. “While I sat by the fire, I remember barely giving him a glance, yet I did think he could use a shave,” she jokes. A month later, the two met again on a bus, where Cecil asked Loreen if she was “still going with her friend.” When she said no, he persuaded her to go skiing with him—what would be their first date.
As Aurel and his daughter Maja tell it, life in the Dittrich family was a beautiful one growing up, filled with a kaleidoscope of precious memories together—like the clan gathering around the kitchen table to blow out candles on a home-made birthday cake, or boating along a crystal-blue lake in the Laurentians. The Croatian-born Chartwell resident and his wife, Zora, had two children in total, including Maja, the oldest. “Maja was my miracle baby,” Aurel smiles, a sparkle in his eye. “She was born on my birthday. Everyone who knows Maja knows how wonderful she is: she’s perfect to me.” Maja teases that she is indeed perfect, but her description of her father is equally as loving. “My dad is such an interesting man. Disciplined, yet funny, a hard-worker, yet loves to unwind with a glass of wine and a paint brush,” she says, adding: “He’s the patriarch of the family; a caring father and a model grandfather.”
With a background in physiotherapy and occupational therapy, Stacey started out her career at Leamington Hospital as a Rehab Assistant—a position she proudly held for almost ten years. While working full time at the hospital, she decided to continue her education and concurrently pursue studies in gerontology. For Stacey, gerontology seemed like the perfect fit, as she enjoyed caring for and interacting with senior patients, and had always harboured a sense of admiration for the elderly that largely stemmed from the love of her own grandmother. “I knew early on in life that I wanted to care for seniors. With them, I feel a sense of comfort that’s hard to put into words.”
According to Brenda, the reason she has continued to flourish in the retirement living industry is because of her love and appreciation for seniors. “I take great pride in being a part of my residents’ everyday lives,” she reveals. “I can be a listening ear or a shoulder to cry on if they need it. My heart is warmed every time a resident trusts me enough to open up and share their story.”
It was a cold, blustery day in February when over 1,500 General Managers, Middle Managers and corporate office employees gathered together for Chartwell’s annual Leadership Conference in Niagara Falls, Ontario. To our chagrin, we were battered with over 35cm of snow on the first day of the conference, causing poor road conditions and impacting flights—yet, we all made it safely to the Sheraton on the Falls hotel, even those of us travelling from as far away as Victoria, British Columbia, and Saguenay, Quebec.
As a woman who wears her heart on her sleeve, Claire has developed a passion for her residents and is proud to support a staff team fully dedicated to enriching the daily lives of seniors. Guided by her life experience, Claire holds wonderful memories of her childhood, enjoying close relationships with both of her grandmothers. In fact, it was her maternal grandmother who once wisely said: “It took a lifetime for me to learn how to live well.”
DeAnn has always appreciated the seniors in her life. Growing up, she was close to both sets of grandparents, who made no secret of how much they adored her and her brother. She describes her maternal grandparents as warm and affectionate people, and her paternal grandparents as “endearing, talkative, and very French!” DeAnn’s loving relationships with them almost certainly led to her fondness for the senior community, and she’d discover during the early days of her career that she was instinctually hardwired to go the extra mile for them.
Ana’s grandparents played a significant role in her upbringing. Helping to raise her and her siblings, the family living together on a farm in Langdon, Alberta. Ana describes them as kind and loving people, and warmly recollects many special memories with her grandmother, including watching her prepare home-cooked meals and helping her to hang crisp white sheets on the clothesline to dry. Ana inherited many amiable values from her grandparents, including the importance of honesty and protecting the environment, as well as to cherish every moment with family and friends.