For Margot Byer, Canterbury Foundation’s 16 new hospice care spaces can’t come soon enough. They’re a component of Canterbury’s 2.5 million dollar expansion and renovation that will introduce end-of-life care, 53 new dementia care suites and community outreach programming for seniors living in the surrounding community of Laurier Heights. Byer and her family recently contributed a gift of $10,000 in memory of her late Mother, Jean Coglon. It’s gifts like these and others that Canterbury Foundation, as a not-for-profit organization, could not continue its work and Promise of Home without. 

Rendering by ONPA Architects of the new Hospice Care Area 

After living in Edmonton’s west end for over four decades Coglon moved to Canterbury in 2010 where she lived until her passing in 2017. The family’s contribution will help create a first of it’s kind residential hospice providing compassionate end of life care for seniors right in their own home.  

Byer says, “Mom told me in that last week of her life, that she would like to give a gift towards helping setup hospice care, so our donation is to honour mom’s last request.” 

“They will have staff serving that unit that are really passionate about that type of care, and it’s fitting because the staff that were with her on her last day were her favourite people so that was really good.”

Caring for residents in their final days and not having to uproot them from their homes is a need that’s only growing. The average age of seniors in care is higher than ever before. 

“As our medical care gets better and people are living longer, the reality of supporting someone through a terminal illness is just that much greater,” says Byer. 

Rendering by ONPA Architects of the new Hospice Care Area .

“I think we just really need to be forward thinking not just for our parents but for ourselves as we age as well. There’s probably a good chance that we’ll need that type of care at some point and I think it’s just a gift to that person we love to be able to have that home-like experience at the end. I think it was a real blessing for my mom to be able to die in the place she called home for the last 7 years of her life.” 

“I think once the hospice unit is up and running, transitions to a higher level of care will be more seamless and the pressure will really be lifted off of families,” says Byer.

In addition to gifts supporting end of life care, Canterbury has been fortunate enough to receive so many in-kind donations geared towards helping residents thrive even during the pandemic. 

“Every week we’ve seen family members, community organizations and students from Laurier Heights School across the street, stop in to donate things like masks, hand-crocheted ear guards to protect our front line staff from discomfort, and even tablets to help keep residents connected with their loved ones,” says Resident Experience Manager Mbalia Kamara. 

In a post on the White Orchid Crafts Facebook page Meagan Armstong writes, “Another batch of ear savers ready for some amazing nurses and staff at one of our Edmonton Seniors homes. Thank you to all of the front line workers for all of your hard work during these times.” 

BetterLife Medical, Buddhas Light Society Edmonton, Dialog Design and Community member, Betty Zeng, are all among the gracious donors who provided masks and other PPE keeping Canterbrury staff, residents and the surrounding community safe and COVID-free. Thanks to donations like these, the cooperation of the surrounding community we’re able to protect the health and safety of everyone who calls Canterbury home.

It’s in that same spirit of giving that Stuart Olson has also lent a hand to improve the quality of life for residents and their families. As they lead the Canterbury redevelopment and expansion Stuart Olson has taken the time to ensure they are going above and beyond, constructing a visiting patio for residents to enjoy face to face visits with family while still observing social distancing. The construction giant arranged for a recent staff appreciation lunch from Drift Food Truck and even delivered activity books to every single Canterbury resident to celebrate Seniors Week in June.

In a post on Stuart Olson’s Instagram page they write, “We’ve been working on a very special project! It has been an honour to collaborate with our seniors’ retirement and care facility clients to create these special activity books. We have built many of these facilities, but together we are building community. It is our hope that the wonderful residents in these facilities find joy and peace in this activity book. Our promise is our legacy and reminds us that long after a project is completed and our work is done, we remain neighbours, friends and community members and we stand beside you.” 

These are just a few of the examples of the generosity the non-profit has received in 2020 and they would like to extend heartfelt messages of thanks and gratitude for the ongoing support still rolling in. If you would like to contribute to and help support the Promise of Home for seniors in your community please visit the website to donate.