Communities Offer Relief From Loneliness

In the Comfort Life Spotlight

One of the great benefits of moving into a retirement home is that you are never alone - and never lonely.

She felt very alone ...until she moved into the Hunt Club, a local retirement home
Doris Reid, 90, says, "I have been singing most of my life." She sees no reason to stop now. Two years ago, Doris was ill and confined to her Ottawa condo for four days. Her best friend was away in California, and she felt very alone. The experience prompted her decision to move to a retirement residence, where medical care and other services were available, and she chose the Hunt Club Manor.

It came as a bonus when she discovered that in 2003, MariLyn Kelly, a gifted choir leader and now the director of care, had founded the Hunt Club Belles and Beaux, a glee club; Doris quickly joined.

Other residents attend the weekly rehearsals for the pleasure of hearing their voices, and the glee club, in addition to celebrating birthdays and other special days at the Hunt Club, also visits other retirement homes. One appearance in front of city hall for the Ottawa Tulip Festival was less than successful when the cold wind kept blowing away the music. "We've decided only to sing indoors from now on," Doris says.

Attending exercise classes regularly, "I have found I am more supple. I can put my coat on pretty well."

As for the vocal cords: "They are pretty good-for 90."

Read about The Hunt Club Manor and other retirement homes in Ottawa

'I didn't like living alone'
"Solitude!" growls Len Harper, "It's not worth a hoot!" "No," agrees Grace Bennett, "I didn't like living alone at all." Len and Grace were both on their own when they moved to Delmanor Elgin Mills, in Richmond Hill, some three years ago. Then they found each other. Someone told Len at a party, "Go dance with that girl." Now Len, 82, and Grace, 86, dance together every chance they get. "We hold each other up," says Grace.

They had both lost their partners and Grace especially was depressed when she arrived at Delmanor. "But six months after I came here, I felt like a million," she says.

Len had tried out Delmanor for three weeks, then returned home. "We had a big snowfall, and I said, 'To hell with this.'" And he headed back to Delmanor.

Now they attend Toronto Symphony Orchestra concerts and the local Curtain Club drama productions, and Len has taken Grace out to dinner at the Military Institute where he attends Gunners' Club functions. But mostly, they joke and laugh a lot together. "We have such a good time," says Grace.

Check out our online listing for Delmanor Elgin Mills in Richmond Hill.

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