Who would have thought that COVID would present an opportunity to really listen to an older generation and hear their advice?

During the first wave of the COVID pandemic, St. Joseph’s Health Centre Guelph closed ambulatory and outpatient programs to limit the number of people coming into the health centre. Staff from these programs were redeployed to our long-term care program to help support recreational activities for residents. It was an opportunity for residents and staff to get to know one another.

Together, they started an initiative called “My Life Story” that included asking residents a series of questions designed to highlight the individual’s hobbies, social history, likes and dislikes, and personality, we were able to design an infographic to hang in the resident’s room so all staff providing care had the resident’s preferences at a glance.

Relationships are extremely important in providing care centred on the individual. This initiative presented a meaningful reminder that caring for and working with people includes actively listening, being present and remembering the importance of identity. Residents are exceptional and unique individuals and it is important that we hear their stories and insights. We were able to gather Words of Wisdom that residents wanted to share with staff across our health centre and our broader community. We hope you enjoy these Words of Wisdom and keep them in mind as we move forward together. As Frank, a resident in one of St. Joseph’s neighbourhoods would say: “Do your best, your very best, everyday!”