Making the most of long-term care
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Making the most of long-term care

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When Joyce Nichol’s leg was amputated four years ago, her life changed drastically.

A former world traveller with fierce independence and a sharp mind, she left the hospital to live in a retirement home where she could get the support she needed.

Confined to a wheelchair and missing her home, Joyce understood when she lost her leg, she lost part of her independence. At times, the truth was almost more than she could bear.

Wiping away tears, the Kingston woman accepts her move to long-term care in 2015 where a team of health care professionals monitor the disease that took her leg.

Working to control her diabetes and respiratory issues, the team’s efforts rarely interrupt Joyce’s dream of resuming the life she once had.

“I’d rather be in my own home,” she admits with nostalgia.

“I loved to travel and I loved my job.

An employee of the Government of Canada for 33 years, Joyce E. Nichol, 78, spent the last 17 years of her career as a special prosecutor for the Department of Unemployment Insurance.

By the time she retired, she was serving seven courts from Napanee to Brockville and north to Smiths Falls.

Skilled at her job, Joyce quickly became known as an investigator who could uncover the truth.

Before the court, she was often prosecuting repeat offenders.

“I felt I was doing something worthwhile,” she notes about her work to reduce fraudulent unemployment insurance claims and save taxpayers’ money.

Dealing with cheats and liars, Joyce used her inner-strength to see justice served.

“I’ve had to be a strong person,” she concedes.

“My mother raised me alone from the age of five so I had to stand-up for myself.”

Dabbling in the healthcare profession as a teenager, Joyce quickly discovered nursing wasn’t for her. Her next choice was detective work which is where she ended her career.

“I loved court work,” she reflects.

Settled into her room at Helen Henderson Care Centre where she receives 24-hour medical care, Joyce spends her days travelling around the home and community in a motorized wheelchair. She uses public transportation to Kingston to expand her world and interests.

“I like talking to people and helping people,” says the retired civil servant with a small smile.

At the long-term care home, Joyce enjoys watching sports with other residents surrounded by her collection of owls.

Filled with memories of the life she left behind, Joyce appreciates the world-class healthcare she receives and the warmth of the Gibson family who own and operate the home.

“I have an excellent doctor in Dr. Cal Connor,” Joyce notes with gratitude.

“He has the nicest bedside manner. He doesn’t mind sitting-down and talking about life.”

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