Valentine’s Day at Canterbury Foundation is always a special holiday. There are so many couples at Canterbury who have been together much of their lives. Hand in hand, they’ve worked to raise families together and for many couples they couldn’t imagine now having to live life apart - just because one person requires more or less care than the other. 

Canterbury recognizes the mental, emotional and spiritual importance of keeping couples together. It’s why Canterbury has numerous options to meet the needs of every couple who chooses to call Canterbury home. 

Roderick and Alma Small moved to Canterbury Court in 2014 after having lived in the same home where they raised their 3 children. They chose Canterbury because of the memory care program Canterbury offered. 

“My dad was showing signs of dementia in 2014 when they moved in,” says Roderick and Alma’s daughter, Brenda Graham. “One of the reasons they chose Canterbury was because there was a dementia care program and they knew when they moved in, that would be an eventual step. We knew they could each get the care they needed and still be able to stay in the same building.”

The Smalls will celebrate their 65th wedding anniversary this year.


“It was 1955 and my mother was living in Edmonton. That summer she had gone home to Sangudo to visit friends and family, says Brenda. “There was a celebration of Alberta’s 50th year anniversary of being a province.  A group of bagpipers were in town for the occasion. A friend of Mom’s knew someone in the band. My mom planned on taking the bus back to Edmonton because she had work the next day at the Imperial Bank on Whyte Avenue, which meant she would miss out on the later part of the celebration. Her friend wanted to stay longer, so asked if someone in the band could give my mom a ride back to the city. One of the pipers said he would be heading back to Edmonton too and would be happy to take her. That piper was my dad.”

To this day, you can find Roderick conducting and dancing as if playing the bagpipes, to the music in Canterbury’s memory care unit called the Lane. The Lane offers all kinds of memory care programming and music is an integral part. You’ll often find musicians playing the piano and singing, there are social hours and meals shared together. 

It was 3 years ago that Roderick started needing to have help beyond what Alma could give. Slowly Canterbury staff were helping more and more. This past June, Roderick was accepted into the Lane. Alma remained in the Court just down the hall from where Roderick moved into a room at the Lane.

Brenda says, “That worked out very well because my mom really needed more autonomy to get her energy back after being a caregiver for so long. She did really need that time by herself. It also provided Dad with a new mix of people and more entertainment. He is such a social person. When they were in the Court together they couldn’t always make it down for meals or entertainment in the Court dining room and lounge, so the Lane provides him easier access to socialization, meals and all the entertainment Canterbury provides to Lane residents,” says Brenda.

Alma agrees. She says she still goes and visits her husband, but now they can both get the care they need. She says living in the same suite was no longer something she could manage. And this arrangement is the best for both of them.

For other couples, who want to remain living together in the same suite despite getting different care, Canterbury now offers a 2 bedroom suite inside the Lane. One resident can receive full nursing and memory care support in a secure environment, while the other spouse can come and go from the unit and participate in life outside the memory care unit - while still living with their spouse in the same suite.

Sacha Cooper is Canterbury’s Business Development and Licensing Manager. She says, “We felt it was important to create a space where a couple - one who needed memory care support, and one who didn’t, could still live together in the same suite and receive the nursing care and life-enrichment support each partner needs. Most long-term care facilities don’t provide these kinds of spaces and we’ve seen how heartbreaking it is when one partner has to leave their spouse to get more advanced care at another care facility. Through our brand new renovated memory care unit and our future enhanced supportive living unit on the horizon, we will now have such suites - so couples can stay together despite their individual needs, till death do they part.”  

For more information on Canterbury Foundation and to book a tour contact Sacha Cooper at [email protected]