After living a very beautiful but simple life in Boca Raton, Florida for more than 24 years, my life changed drastically moving back to my roots on Vancouver Island – however in a good way, a purposeful way.  One could say I’ve found my calling by being a caregiver.  When one of my sisters asked, “Why on earth would you want that job Nancy?” I replied, “It’s not a job, it’s a purpose”.  After not working for 27 years,  playing tennis, and eating lunch with my teammates at the most elegant country clubs in South Florida, I found myself seeking something meaningful, something that would bring me joy.


What does a caregiver do really?  We do much more than hold hands and dust pianos.  Besides driving to doctors appointments, purchasing groceries and making delicious meals (home made soups are my speciality!) we are there to bring joy, whether that may be to listen to fascinating life stories  (all of them are) help to dress or bathe, wrap them in a warmed towel or dress a wound.  In essence, we do all the things you did all your life with your own babies, but now find challenging after being independent for so long.  Those crippled tired hands have earned help.


Grown children live busy lives and they carry guilt because they can’t always be there to help with day to day tasks.  This is where a caregiver comes in.  Not just any caregiver, but one who is compassionate, loving, patient and kind. One that is consistent and can add value to a senior’s life because they are building relationships.  One that you look forward to seeing like a family member or close friend.  Because loneliness is a real thing for many, especially the elderly and particularly now in these uncertain COVID times.


I was once told by a counselor that humans are hard wired to be connected.  A very true statement.  I’ve met some incredible elderly people here in Victoria that have shared their life stories – powerful and entertaining stories that deserve to be heard.  A funny note, my first clients (I will call them Henry and Margaret) are a sweet couple:  Henry, a decorated and accomplished professor, wearing a cap bearing the insignia of his university; and his accomplished wife, a renown woman herself.   When I picked them up to take them out for a few hours (I think we ended up ambling around the woods of their family home they shared for 47 years followed by a walk and ice cream along Dallas Road) the first thing Henry said was, “Nice to meet you Nancy.  But does she (head cocked toward Margaret) have to come?”


I worked with a couple, for whom the husband was my prime companion role.  After a few months he went on to care.  His wife had received a diagnosis of cancer, and after many years of two people in the home, she was lonely and scared.  I worked on a ‘team of two’ as her companion.  The home was spotless, and that is how I coined the term “holding hands and dusting pianos.”


I have so many funny stories and relationships that have given me this sense of purpose I was seeking.  I will share some with you in the next few months.  Stay stunned, stay safe, and always be kind.


Care & Company offers introduction to caregiver courses.  You may register for the upcoming course in November.  Please call us at 250-382-2328 for more information.


Submitted by Nancy

Community Liaison for Care & Company

Senior Care Victoria

The increase in chronic diseases has heightened the need for supervised exercise programming for clients after their discharge from rehabilitation services or hospital. The Medical Exercise Specialist (MES) is uniquely trained to provide post rehab and medical exercise services to a wide range of clients with medical needs.

There are a number of reasons to utilize the MES when planning the discharge of clients in need of supervised exercise programming.  The fact is that Client’s returning home from hospital after post-hip or knee surgery may be in a weakened state requiring not only exercise therapy but post-surgical care whether temporarily or ongoing.

With exactly this combination of MES and Caregiving which included home supports, one of the Clients raved about her experience.  She had just returned home after a knee replacement and sent this remark: “ Had I not had the help of Sonja daily, supervising my exercises, timing me, assisting with bathing, home support and groceries, I would not have been camping two months later.  The fact that Sonja could do all those things in a two hour window daily, meant so much more to me than just requiring the home support on its own.  Thanks to Sonja, I am encouraged as I await my next knee replacement”

Here are 5 good reasons to implement exercise for the senior returning from surgery:

  1. The MES is trained to develop conditioning programs for a wide range of Clients with musculoskeletal, cardiovascular, metabolic and neurological disorders
  2. The MES is trained to identify “red flags” which indicate the Client is inappropriate for exercise and/or requires a referral to a medical professional.
  3. The MES understands how to screen the Client to identify any potential problem areas that may be exacerbated by exercise.
  4. Utilizing a MES after discharge will improve the Client’s functional capacity and minimize the possibility of re-injury.
  5. The MES not only develops the Client’s conditioning program but is also able to establish a wellness program that will enhance the Client’s overall level of health and well being.

Medical Exercise when combined with Caregiving can ensure the Client recovers quickly, safely and return to their daily activities sooner.

Introduction to Caregiving 101

Statistics Canada states that the number of Canadians who are 65 or older grew 20 per cent between 2011 and 2016, surpassing for the first time the number of children aged 14 and under.

It’s the largest increase for that age group in 70 years, and the highest increase in the proportion of seniors since Confederation.

The oldest of baby boomers are only now just coming into an age where they may need extra assistance with activities of daily living, or instrumental tasks of living such as mowing the lawn, shopping, or extensive house keeping.

Families are in dire need of companions and especially live in workers.  This article mainly focuses on the rewards of providing live-in to the elderly.  Workers often wonder what experience they may need to provide this care.  For many it starts as companionship with a few key additional aspects to manage the care of an elderly person to palliative care at home.

What are the appeals of such a position you may ask?  Well, for one there is a lot of autonomy in the position of providing live-in companionship or care.  Aside from the fact that you must follow a certain protocol of provision for medications and directives for your senior, you will be able to organize your day around what your senior likes to do, play games, go for drives and assist them in engaging with friends or family but now you are the set of wheels to accommodate this.

Newly Retired but not really ready to give up working?  There may be a part time position that is perfect for you!  Joan recently retired, she’s 63 years old and single but finds she has a lot of free time on her hands.   Joan expressed the desire to work a maximum of 3 days per week as a live-in to a senior gentleman.  Listen to what Joan has to say about her experiences:

“ We have a blast!  Mitch is the best!  He’s like going out with my dad.  Many think Mitch is my dad, which gives us both a little giggle.  Mitch has good mobility and can still get out and about.  His hearing is failing and dealing with cash is getting a little harder.  He used to just open his wallet at the grocery store and have the cashier help themselves.  A little guidance goes a long way, and now I budget the shopping carefully to make sure $40 or 2 x $20 bills are sufficient so Mitch (who has been cued) can pull out the 2 bills on his own!  We go out for lunch, read the paper to each other, and in the afternoon, we read together (and nod off while doing so).  Mitch loves to walk and shop and take drives.  He loves current events and we have great debates.  Why can’t Mitch be on his own?  Well, he has short term memory issues, border line dementia and his reasoning skills aren’t always the best.  Mitch lost his wife 2 years ago and is alone in his own home.  We love doing activities together and I love that I make a difference in his life …. And he in mine!”

If you are a compassionate and caring person, with a little time on your hands, you may be interested in seeking a position where you can both make a difference and be fulfilled at the same time.

Please feel free to join Senior Care Victoria, Care & Company at our session on September 24 from 7pm to 9pm called ‘Introduction to Caregiving 101’ at #116-2187 Oak Bay Avenue.  Coffee & tea supplied.