“Connection to me is everything. For my whole life, I was involved in the community and now I’m involved at Parkwood. It’s my whole life. I love it here.”
– Helen Anderson
The number 97540 means a lot to Helen Anderson, a WW II Veteran who now makes her home at Parkwood Institute. It’s her military number. And she remains enormously proud of her contributions to the effort more than 80 years ago.
Helen was just 17 years of age, when she enlisted, lying about her age, like so many others at that time. While overseas, she worked as a dispatcher and statistician assisting in the allocation of soldiers and goods. Doing double duty, she volunteered and helped care for injured soldiers in a military hospital at night and found her calling as a nurse.
Following the war, she attended nursing school and completed post-graduate studies in obstetrics. This launched a long career that found her giving time to help deliver babies at home for families without insurance, working as an obstetrics nurse and eventually moving into administration at then Victoria Hospital in London.
It was just a few years ago, that her children noticed her health and memory declining while she was living in a retirement home. Together they made the decision to make the move to the Veterans Care Program.
“It’s been a huge blessing for our family,” says her son Greg Rea. “Quite frankly, we have no worries. They spoil her here.”
Debbie, Helen’s daughter, agrees, adding that when her mother entered the program, a nurse practitioner reviewed her medication and after some physiotherapy, her mother became more mobile.
At 98, Helen keeps a busy schedule. She loves spending time in the Veterans Arts studio, knitting, painting and making toys for her grandchildren and great-grandchildren. She glows when she sees the final product.
“I loved crafting, even before I came here,” she says with a smile, glowing as she reviews her latest project.
With support from the staff team, Helen also gets involved in group activities such as trivia games and drumming circles.
“I spent my life involved in helping the community,” says Helen. “And now, I’m involved at Parkwood. It’s my whole life. I love it here.”
It’s the compassionate care and connection that Helen receives that leaves an impression on her children.
Whether it’s ensuring she is engaged in some of her favorite hobbies, she is able to go to her weekly hair appointment for a little pampering or she is spending time enjoying some of the beautiful trails outside of Parkwood, the care teams are always there for Helen.
“It’s so comforting to know the staff love her here,” says Debbie.
Give a Gift. Brighten a Life.
This Season of Celebration, we are on a mission to ensure that everyone in our community continues to receive compassionate care now and well into the future.
St. Joseph’s Health Care Foundation is raising funds to purchase essential equipment and resources including blanket warmers, cuddle beds, slings for lifts, TVs in waiting rooms, pianos and personal care products for inpatients. These are important items that focus on the total patient experience while receiving care at St. Joseph’s Health Care London.
- Making the season brighter
A generous anonymous donor will match gifts up to $200,000 until December 31, 2023. Donations will fund essential equipment and resources, ensuring excellent care, comfort, and connection for patients and residents.