Family values kindness and compassion in retirement lodge
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Family values kindness and compassion in retirement lodge

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Always carry a song in your heart and a smile on your face.

That is mantra of Deana Abbott, a 64-year-old Kingston woman who is passionate about living life to the fullest.

Sitting in the dining room at Helen Henderson Retirement Lodge in early 2018, Deana smiles brightly as she talks about the care her family received, and receives, at the accredited retirement home in Amherstview.

“All the girls here took the extra time to say hello and visit,” she says quietly, thinking about the care her father received at the home for three years before his death. “What got me the most was how the nurse crawled into bed with my mother to comfort her, after my father died. That goes beyond compassionate care. You can’t teach that, it’s innate.”

Still grieving over the death of her 92-year-old father who suffered from myelodysplastic syndrome, Deana’s character and strength fill the room as she talks. For her, compassion for others is as important as kindness to oneself.

Looking around the home she has grown to love, Deana notes softly, “I feel there is compassionate care here.”


Dressed in blue with eye-catching aqua jewellery, she talks about the considerate staff who use their personal time to play music for residents. She sees how family values seep into all aspects of this home owned and operated by the Gibson family.

“The staff are excellent here,” says the mother of two girls. “They became my father’s extended family.”

Comforted by the knowledge her father was well cared-for in the home, Deana is grateful to have the same help for her mother and mother-in-law who continue to reside a few doors down from each other.

Deana’s regular visits to the home are evident as she smiles and nods to staff and residents passing through the dining room. Deana is a familiar, well-loved family member.

“All of the people here have a history,” she says wisely about the seniors and staff who make the home special. “I enjoy conversing with people. I enjoy taking the time to find out about them. A kind word will get a better response than a terse one.

“Life is too short to look at the negative,” adds the retired teacher with a gentle smile. “Don’t dwell on it.”

Deana describes herself as having a similar outlook as her father.

“I tend to smile and look at the good in people,” she explains. “It’s important to remember you only get one turn in life and you get as good as you give.”

Helen Henderson Care Centre is proud to designate March as Compassionate Care Month.

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