Calgary, Alberta

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Interview with The Manor Villages StayWell Manor family member, Brenda Meneghetti

Brenda shares how StayWell Manor helped three of her relatives before they passed, including both parents (with dementia) and her mother-in-law.

In this perspective:

Highlights from the interview

  • [We love] the programming. In StayWell, they had dementia care, memory care that they didn't have at where my parents had lived independently. It was really important for us as they progressed, for them to be able to move into a memory care unit if needed, which my mom ultimately did. 

  • I can't say enough about the people, from the first person we met, [even] the leasing agent when we walked in. The kindness, compassion, and also the awareness of what the families are going through… [Being] able to ask questions and drill down to what we needed and what we were looking for… [They were] very intuitive about mom and dad's conditions. 

  • In her later stages of dementia, [mom] started talking about a baby, and… she kept asking, ‘Who's taking care of the baby?’ We looked up online some things we could do to help with that anxiety, and we found [out about] doll therapy. We bought my mom a doll and named it Natalie. And Natalie became part of the memory care unit. The nurses and everybody were fabulous. They would put Natalie to bed after Mom's nap and take Natalie out to see Mum to calm her if she needed.… It was amazing how everybody in the unit, their nurturing came out. The care aides, the nurses, all were just very encouraging.

  • Exercise was a really big part of [my mum’s] life and she actually worked out with my mother in law [there]. They would go together. When my mother in law moved into StayWell, they were looking forward to exercising together. It didn't matter if she was wheelchair bound. Near the end, she was doing the tai chi. They had such incredible exercise programs and they were able to keep that up during COVID.... They had the exercise programs on the TVs and the recreational therapists would go room to room to room… and do those programs. 

  • My mother in law said it's like a cruise ship because of all the activities that you can do, or not participate in. Nobody forces you to do anything. It's really at your own pace… There are a lot of things [to do] for all levels. Even in memory care, they would bring in musicians on a Saturday afternoon and somebody would be playing guitar. The residents just loved that. 

  • My mom had her piano in her suite… She loved playing the piano. She was playing it up to two weeks before she passed away. And we had the video of her playing the piano from memory and we used it in the photo montage at her funeral. It was lovely. 

  • We didn't realize [that] medications were being missed by my mom. We didn't understand the frontal temporal dementia that dad had. [After moving], their lives changed totally. Their health got better, my mom got off oxygen, they were eating. My mom put on weight again [thanks to] the balanced diet. She got off her blood pressure medications in the last year. 

  • There were a lot of positive things, because of the lifestyle. They weren't just sitting on their chairs like Archie Bunker and Edith watching TV. They were moving. They had to go down to the dining room. Even though they were in walkers, they had to walk down and get that exercise. Movement and socialization are just so critical. It definitely prolonged their lives in a very positive way. 

  • At StayWell, everything is very comfortable. The chairs are comfortable, the way the lobby is set up with the fish tanks and the cafe… everything reminds you as much as [possible] of home. 

  • The people are consistent. They don't have a huge staff turnover. And they really cared about my parents. The tears when my parents passed away! The emotions! They were calling me on my cell phone when Mum was in the hospital, [asking] ‘How's she doing?’ They really cared. 

  • A lot of anxieties we had were removed. We knew Mum was getting the medications. We knew they were eating very well... We became daughters again instead of caregivers. [It] allowed us to have of course [of action]… to work as a team [with] the doctors… It allowed us to have a lot more of those moments with [just] my two sisters and myself. 

  • They wanted to move mom into memory care two months before, but we were worried about what it would be like and she'd be in a locked down area. But her life just exploded with joy after she moved [to memory care] because they could cater to her. She wasn't sitting alone in her apartment for the majority of the day. She was in the common area, watching programs, being part of programs, exercising, socializing, those types of things. It was actually very positive. But we fought it. ‘Oh, mom is not that bad, she doesn't need memory care.’ But it was the best thing for her. So just listen and listen with your heart to what they tell you. 

  • The people and the programming are two intangibles. From the management down, the executive director, the wellness director, everybody is so caring. Their doors are always open. 

MORE ABOUT The Manor Villages StayWell Manor

Our Perspective

A sure sign of an exceptional community is long-term commitment on the part of residents. At StayWell Manor you’ll always find a number of residents who have lived here for five, seven, ten years, or longer. Many of those people will tell you that they’ve loved their entire time here and The Manor has become their home. What’s more is that staff turnover here is also low. Calgary seniors and families looking for a place to thrive need to take a close look at this community. Read more

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