Care & Comfort for Loved Ones….

I bit my tongue. I couldn’t let my dad see me cry.

Crying would upset and worry him. But every time I walked out of the facility my dad lived at before coming to Mount St. Mary, my tears flowed freely. I couldn’t breathe.

I wanted him to be in a place like Mount St. Mary Hospital, a place that has private rooms in a home-like setting. Not four residents to a room with only a curtain for privacy like in the place he was living.

I never imagined my dad needing complex care. Is it something you’ve thought about for your loved ones—or even yourself?

An electrical engineer from Wales, my dad was strong, capable and fiercely independent. He moved a lot and worked in different countries including Mexico and Peru. I never thought he wouldn’t be able to care for himself.

About three years ago, he started having trouble walking. At 87 years old, his legs just didn’t work the same anymore. He started to have falls. He broke his femur. He needed more and more help at home.

His overall health was declining. He was admitted to the hospital a few times and was now in the “system.” After six months of rehab, his case manager said it wasn’t safe for him to go home.

We were both devastated.

As I said, I never thought he’d need complex care. But here we were. During the 18 months he lived in that first facility, I watched my dad slip away. He lost his spark. You could see the sadness in his eyes.

You must understand—I know the staff there tried their best, but funding is limited and building design can’t be changed. This wasn’t good enough for my dad. How would you feel in my place?

I looked for other options and when I entered Mount St. Mary Hospital, it felt different. I talked with people visiting their loved ones. Everyone said there is something special

I knew I needed to be patient and have faith that one day, a bed would become available for my dad.

I finally got the call. Can you imagine my relief ? I cried. They were tears of joy.

My dad is now one of about 270 residents between the ages of 45 and 102 who call Mount St. Mary home each year. When we first arrived, dad was scared, and I was nervous. The nurses gently took us under their wings and involved us in every step.

After a few weeks, we met with his full team of caregivers. As I wheeled my dad into the room, I wasn’t sure what to expect. My dad was beaming. He looked at me and smiled. He was back.

Government contributions and resident fees cover a portion of the direct care hours at Mount St. Mary, as well as shelter, food and most medications. I’m sure you understand there is little money to cover extras that benefit the well-being of the whole person. It is frustrating, but limited funding is the reality of our medical system.

Mount St. Mary is one of the best complex care facilities in Victoria because of you. Your generosity guarantees every resident has the best quality of life possible.

I am very grateful. The frail, vulnerable and elderly residents deserve comfort and care during their final days, months and years. They are our parents and grandparents, workers and volunteers, friends and neighbours. They created this community you and I call home.

Stop for a moment and think about the things you enjoy—friends, activities, your beloved pets. Does hearing a special song bring a flood of memories back to you? Do you love crawling into your bed at night?

These are simple things in life—but they are what residents pray for. Simple things are even more precious when you live with chronic, progressive, complicated medical conditions, dementia, and physical limitations that make it difficult or impossible to do things on your own.

This is why I’m asking for your help.

Your gifts purchase specialized equipment—from a $5,000 active/passive trainer bike to build strength and flexibility to a new mattress to protect fragile skin for $550. With your help to raise $18,000 this year, the residents will benefit from everything remaining on the urgently needed equipment list for 2018. You will guarantee their safety, comfort, dignity, and independence.

By itself, even the best equipment in the world is not enough. No matter what physical or mental challenges they face, I’m sure you’ll agree—every resident deserves emotional and spiritual support, engaging activities, and personal connection with others.

These gifts of hope, comfort and joy are yours to give when you direct your donation to therapeutic programs. From music therapy and pet therapy to activities and pastoral and spiritual care, your donations will go towards the remaining $15,000 needed to cover the cost of programs this year.

I know our community’s needs are great, and as a caring, generous person, you probably get lots of requests for support. But please don’t set this letter aside—this is a critical time and residents need your help today.

Please make your gift today.

With your gift, you’re changing the lives of the frail and vulnerable and seniors with disabilities. I have seen firsthand the difference you make…

Yesterday, I paused for a moment before entering my dad’s room. His fingers were tapping to the beat of a Dean Martin song while a volunteer listened alongside him. He is happy. You made this possible.

But I still worry. The needs of the residents are great, and their happiness and well-being depends on your compassion and your donation. You and I must do what we can to guarantee these residents are cared for. To guarantee residents like my dad and your loved one have a place they can call home.

With heartfelt gratitude,
Shirley Williams

PS – Gifts made before midnight on December 31 receive a charitable tax receipt for 2018… make your gift online, call 250-480-3138 to put a gift on your credit card over the phone or mail your cheque to Mount St. Mary Hospital (mail must be postmarked December 31 or earlier to receive a 2018 charitable tax receipt.)