Sheila Kinders has a very close relationship with her senior mother Ethel. Every day she visits with the 91 year old at Canterbury Manor, they stroll around the neighbourhood together and share a delicious meal. When her mother is ready for bed, she leaves for the night but doesn’t have to go far. It’s just a quick walk back to her special place to unwind. In fact, it’s her own bedroom, just down the hall. Sheila, who is 60, shares an apartment with her mom - yes at Canterbury Manor.
“I really like living here, I wasn’t sure at first, but it’s been a bit of time now and I’ve really settled in,” says the young senior daughter. “We have a great apartment together in Canterbury Manor, there are nice friendly people here, and you can chit chat with whoever is around. I can spend time with my Mom, and she’s good company, especially since I’m newly retired.”
As an aging senior whose husband had passed away years earlier, Ethel was also looking for ways to enjoy a simpler way of living. The timing was just right for the mother and daughter to make a move. They have been living at Canterbury Manor for the past two years.
“Oh, everything is just perfect here,” says Ethel with a smile.
“There comes a point when you just can’t do everything quite exactly like you used to,” explains Ethel on why they settled on the conveniences of Canterbury Manor. “It’s easier here, but we still have more independent living, that’s why we chose it,” says the active, retired city hall worker.
In addition to the perk of having shared expenses there are many advantages to the unique living arrangement for the mother and daughter.
“We have our own kitchen to make our own breakfast and lunch for each other,” says the 91 year old. “But we can go down for supper if we want; we do our own laundry, we can either get housekeeping services or we can do our own. We can do things together or go off and do things separately. And with our second floor, two bedroom layout, my daughter still has her own space here, which is great.”
Sheila, who is newly retired, is one of the youngest residents at the Manor, and Canterbury offers many reasons for similar young at heart seniors to move in.
“Seniors are looking for community,” explains Wendy King, Executive Director of Canterbury Foundation. “Canterbury offers young and older seniors an opportunity to develop new friendships and feel like family. We offer wonderful exercise and enriching entertainment programs designed to the interests and preferences of the residents,” she says.
Canterbury is nestled in the central community of Laurier Heights close to the river valley and Laurier Park, where residents can walk, cycle and explore the beautiful community. “It’s not far from downtown so seniors can attend the theatre and concerts quickly and easily,” says Wendy. “And of course, at the Manor they have privacy in their own apartment when they want, and plenty of friends to socialize with when they walk out their door.”
That’s exactly what Sheila appreciates. “If you live in an apartment by yourself, you’re just stuck in your room, but here there’s lots of interesting things to do with interesting people,” she says.
Even though Covid restrictions have changed the way they are delivered, Sheila says there are more than enough activities to fill up her social calendar.
“There’s things like movie nights, musical entertainment, bingo, yoga, horse racing, and happy hour with beer or wine for special occasions like St. Patrick’s Day.”
Ethel wholeheartedly agrees, but adds, “I also like that fact that you have a choice,” she says. “You can either go to the functions or you can stay in your room if you feel like it at the time; nobody pushes you to do anything here.”
Before COVID the mother and daughter enjoyed Canterbury’s shuttle bus for social outings, including lunches at restaurants, a visit to the local garden centre, a tour of neighbourhood Christmas lights with hot chocolate and cookies, and a day trip to Cooking Lake for some outdoor nature fun. They look forward to a time when these excursions will return; “Oh you bet I’ll be the first in line!” laughs Ethel.
One of the other reasons the Kinders chose to live at Canterbury is for the convenient location in Laurier Heights. Sheila’s brother lives nearby and comes every Monday for a visit, and runs errands for them. “He’s just five minutes down the road, he helps us with our finances, he brings us things when we call. It’s nice to see him and it’s handy when we need him and not a 45 minute drive for him across the city.”
Sheila and Ethel love admiring the mature trees and gardens of the Laurier neighbourhood on their daily walks. A big draw for them was being able to continue gardening at Canterbury. “We used to have a big garden at home and gardened for years,” says Sheila, “and I missed that.” “But we have one here now so that’s really good,” she says.
“In the Courtyard there are a lot of beautiful flower beds in the summer, with the fountain and trees, it’s a lovely space” explains Ethel.“We have a meeting before the season and you volunteer to take a flower bed plot to look after. A greenhouse brings in the flowers; you pay for yours and you get to order, plan and plant what you like in your plot. You’re expected to take care of it, and I like that.”
Another thing Ethel and Sheila rave about are the delicious supper time meals they take in at the Courtyard dining room. They purchase meal passes and enjoy the chef’s menu items including some of their favourites like Beef Wellington, Stuffed Salmon, turkey dishes with vegetables and potatoes as well as tantalizing desserts.
Sheila used to work in food services for over 30 years at a seniors home in Millwoods, and recognizes excellent food quality and service. She recalls how at Canterbury “they know how you like to take your coffee, and one of the servers here remembers that I like a small scoop of ice cream on my desert – she knows my name and knows that every time. It just makes me feel special.”
Feeling welcome, healthy, safe and at home is what Canterbury excels in. It’s something residents will find at Canterbury Manor, and at the newly constructed Canterbury Heights, where aging residents can move over to get more assisted care and help when the need arises.
“Often seniors live alone in their own home where they can become very lonely and isolated,” explains Wendy King, Executive Director of Canterbury Foundation. “They may not eat properly or get the exercise they need to maintain their health and hence start to fail.” She adds, “We encourage seniors to move into Canterbury earlier to meet new friends, enjoy healthy meals, develop new interests, and enjoy entertainment. Life is more enjoyable and staff are there to assist as they grow older and need more attention and services.”
That’s a comfort for Ethel and Sheila to have down the road. Right now the family duo has lots of energy, and with the lighter spring days they often venture out for walks twice a day.
“We love strolling around the neighbourhood, seeing wildlife near the River Valley, says Sheila. “We know a nice lady down the hall that we often visit with, and when it’s a little warmer, we’ll take her out for a little walk.”
“That’s what I like about this place,’ she adds. “If I was just living in an apartment, I would just shut the door and that’s it. Here you can stop, visit with a neighbour, have a coffee and talk about the news or just say hello. It’s very comfortable here, more like a community, and a home.
“We just love it here,” says Ethel, “I have no complaints at all, other than I wish I was 10 years younger!” she laughs. Then I could enjoy it even more.”
It’s never too early to consider a move to Canterbury Manor. It’s a lovely place with many conveniences and social activities to experience in the prime of life- with your own family members – or in the company of resident neighbor friends.
Stories like Ethel and Sheila’s are wonderful to share with Canterbury residents and staff. It’s a great time for us to invite other youthful seniors and their families we may know to come take a virtual tour of our world class facility, and consider Canterbury as the next place to call home!