He’s been there since December 2016 after he suffered a major stroke. After an extended hospital stay, Dad went to St. Lawrence for rehab.
The timing was such that we were able to transfer him directly from St. Lawrence to Greenwood House seamlessly, thanks to Trish, the external case manager, who then and now goes way above and beyond for the families and the residents.
Living in a long-term care facility was my dad’s worst nightmare all his adult life. Having to put him in GH was my worst nightmare. I had visions of him living out his days slumped in a wheelchair parked in a hallway or in front of a TV. Nothing could be farther than the reality at GH.
From the first day, the staff engaged Dad. Dad is a quiet man, shy, with a good sense of humor, but my mom was the live wire in that relationship. He relied on her for their social life, since the woman never met a stranger in her life.
The physical therapy department got Dad moving at once. They worked him out, made him keep going when he didn’t want to, and generally treated him like their own family member. That was the start of Dad’s rehab.
Occupational therapy and speech therapy were the same way. They treated Dad as if he was their grandfather. They were sensitive to him and his limits, explained why they were doing what they were doing, and explained the need for it.
The social workers got him talking. He opened up to them in a way I have never seen him open up to anyone. They talked to him about his fears, his anxiety, his loneliness since Mom passed away. I am sure they discussed me, too, but I am not sure I want to know what was said.
The nursing staff. Ah, the nursing staff. The CNAs, RNs, LPNs. They are the heartbeat of GH. I literally don’t have the words to adequately describe how wonderful they all are, every last one of them.
They cheer with me when Dad is doing well, cry with me when he’s having a bad period, hug me when I need it most, and generally just care. They just care. I’m not even going to try and name them all because I’ll forget one or two, and they all deserve a mention. And a seat in heaven.
The CNAs treat Dad with such dignity. They have a difficult job, yet they perform it with such gentleness and genuine affection that Dad feels a lot less helpless and dependent.
That’s very important to Dad’s mental health. Sandra and Evelyn are two of the CNAs that have taken care of Dad since his arrival at GH. And Roz, when Dad was on a different wing for a short time. Simply put, they are treasures. Absolute treasures.
The activities staff do a phenomenal job of engaging the residents. I was there one morning when they were doing a coffee hour/discussion group and I was stunned at how animated some of the residents were during this activity.
Then they played a sort of volleyball game, with disco music playing, and every last resident who played had a smile on their face. Even Dad, who can zone out easily. Meanwhile the staff were dancing, singing, and directing the game.
I can tell you honestly, the activities staff are amazing. Energetic, caring, fun, and attuned to what the residents will respond to best. It’s so doggone impressive.
The kitchen staff, housekeeping, maintenance, administration, all combine to give Dad a home that is clean, comfortable, safe and secure. I can sleep at night knowing that dad is well taken care of.
I miss the Dad I grew up with, but GH has helped me appreciate the Dad he is now. So to all of our GH family, I thank you from the bottom of my heart. You have saved Dad’s life, and you have saved mine.