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Mealtimes at Carefor Richmond Care Home (RCH) have been extra special since trained chef Jessica Hamalainen joined the team last November.

Residents have been receiving more than just delicious home-cooked meals, but also another caring heart that has made a world of difference during these past challenging months. For a new deaf resident who was recently welcomed at the 16-bed retirement home for women living with dementia, Jessica went even further in ensuring she feels safe and happy.

“I thought it would be interesting to learn American Sign Language (ASL) so that I could communicate with the new resident,” Jessica shared, noting that she has self-learned 300 words and counting.

“Living with dementia is hard as it is, so to be also deaf, I can’t imagine how challenging this must be for her.”

With the help of an occasional ASL interpreter that trains all staff, Jessica has become the resident ASL communicator at RCH. Now, a special bond has formed between the deaf resident and Jessica.

“She’s able to express her feelings … I can see she’s happy.”

The switch from working in hospitality to healthcare hasn’t been easy, but Jessica describes her experiences at RCH as rewarding: “It has been a huge learning curve, not only in the sense of being in a new role of caring for people living with dementia, but also learning a new language to engage with one of our residents. [That said], I love going to work. I see the difference we make in their lives.”

“We all need some sort of assistance at some point in our lives. Supporting these services means supporting your own community, your own self,” she added.

Moving into a new home can be an emotional experience for both residents and their families, but our lovely Richmond Care Home staff are there to cater to the personalized needs of all our residents. Thank you for all you do each and every day!

When you visit our 16-bed home designed for women living with dementia in Richmond Village, located just 20 minutes outside of Ottawa, take a close look at the apple tree. You’ll notice something different – underneath the beautiful large crown of the tree, grows another variety of apple.

“It’s quite metaphorical,” Richmond Care Home (RCH) Supervisor Amy England shares, noting that the tree was planted in memory of John and Lilian Bosco’s parents, who were instrumental in getting Richmond Care Home off the ground 20 years ago.

Carefor took over Richmond Care Home, with the couple’s blessing, just a few years after the home became operational. It was over these years that two types of apples began to form on the tree. “This home has really evolved over the years. Much like the big tree, Carefor represents the larger organization that protects and maintains the integrity of the smaller, more intimate care setting. »

Amy has been working at the home since its humble beginnings. In honour of its 20th anniversary, she proudly looks back on how much of an impact this home has had on hundreds of families.

“The most important thing to me is for us to maintain the home’s foundational philosophy of care. We are proud to share that Carefor has done this quite well. We’ve made it a priority to maintain the integrity and intimacy of being a small welcoming home for women living with early or moderate stages of dementia.”

Carefor is also proud to be providing such high-quality care and support during these challenging times. Although the COVID-19 pandemic has taken an emotional toll on loved ones, families are grateful to know their mothers continue to be in a safe and loving environment.

“I’d give Richmond Care Home five stars. They do everything they possibly can for their residents,” says Ken Black, whose mother Elsie has been a resident at the Home for over a year.

While the pandemic has impacted the way we operate our services, these types of smaller care settings are more vital to our community now, than ever before. We must continue to invest in these smaller types of care settings to meet the growing demand. Amy hopes to see this home continue to grow to serve even more families that are seeking a comfortable and safe haven for their moms: “An addition would be great.”

Team Carefor looks forward to supporting this next stage of growth in Richmond, much like the yearly growth of this unique apple tree.

Special thank you to all the staff at Richmond Care Home for keeping a smile on everyone’s face during this unprecedented time. 

The COVID-19 pandemic is unchartered territory for health care and non-health care workers alike. For Mike Wise, a recent RPN graduate, this unfamiliar territory simply means continuing to provide the best quality care to a vulnerable population at Carefor Mackay Residential Complex*.

Despite the fear and uncertainty at the beginning of this pandemic, staff rallied together to weather the storm and do everything in their power to keep residents safe, doing the best with the resources available.

Mike feels fortunate to work with such a devoted team: “We work for one goal; to do the very best we can for the residents.”

Mike shares how impressed he is with the ingenuity of the staff during the shutdown: “With families not being able to visit loved ones, the staff are doing even more to try to help the residents feel more at home. One staff member brought in her personal iPad and helped the residents to do video chats with their loved ones.”

Care Team Supervisor Jennifer St. Cyr couldn’t be more proud of all the great work her staff are doing during this pandemic. In particular, Mike’s passion as an RPN for Carefor is infectious, and he never ceases to bring a smile to all the residents’ faces.

“He is the gentle giant who always has a smile and is always going above and beyond,” Jennifer says.

Support Carefor Heroes like Mike who are working hard during these uncertain times by donating at

*Carefor Mackay Centre houses 80 beds and is one of two Carefor residential care homes in Pembroke-Renfrew County. It was previously known as the Grey Sisters of the Immaculate Conception, a congregation of Roman Catholic sisters founded in 1926 in Pembroke.

Helen works as a nurse at Carefor’s Mackay Complex in Pembroke, Ontario. Her day to day is making sure Mackay’s 41 residents are looked after – ensuring medications, supporting residents with doctors visits, dealing with any health issues that arise. « You have to think of (the residents) and what they need, » says Helen. « Put their needs before everything else. »

Helen knows that good care is for more than just the body, it’s for the whole person. It’s taking a moment to connect with residents, to « interact with them on their levels, » says Helen.  Watching her do her rounds you can see how she does this effortlessly. A hand on one person’s shoulder, a quick joke and a smile to someone else. It might seem small, but it makes a difference. It helps her connect.

One of the residents, Peggy, recognizes it. « (Helen) is so compassionate and she spreads herself to everyone. » Helen and Peggy obviously have a bond.

The majority of Mackay’s residents are seniors who are largely independent with some need of support. Helen and the rest of the staff at Mackay provide them that help that keeps them living as as active and independent lives as possible.

To find out more about Carefor Mackay Centre, click here or contact

Carefor Civic Residential Complex residents give staff members a special surprise for their work during the pandemic

Making a tremendous impact on people’s lives is something Carefor staff do each and every day, but oftentimes they don’t realize just how far their kindness goes in impacting the people around them.

Residents at Carefor Pembroke Civic Residential Complex gave staff members, from health care professionals to administration personnel, a big surprise.

As lockdown restrictions have eased in the province, longtime resident Todd Sullivan and others wanted to do something special to applaud the bravery and dedication of Carefor staff during the pandemic, and for their continued support as things slowly re-adjust. “To all the workers who took care of the residents at the Carefor Civic Complex during COVID-19, thank you.”

In an effort to highlight their efforts, residents presented an appreciation plaque to staff for the great care they received during COVID-19.

Though changes have been challenging for residents, with an inability to participate in their regular activities, Todd who spearheaded the honour, shared that staff were very understanding and supportive throughout.  In addition, many residents recognized staff for going above and beyond in finding ways to engage them during this difficult time.

« Thank you so much to all staff for everything you have done to keep us safe. It was greatly appreciated by myself and all residents of Carefor Civic Complex. Keep up the great work,” Todd said. 

Staff members were truly humbled to receive the plaque of appreciation. They did not expect special recognition for their work, as they always show up with the residents’ best interests at heart.

That said, they were grateful for the thought that was put into presenting them with this honour. “Staff were both appreciative and humbled by this award, and it was even more special because it was from the residents. We couldn’t be more proud of the hardworking staff during this pandemic. Their hard work and dedication to our residents is truly remarkable, » Care Team Supervisor Jennifer St. Cyr said.

It really goes to show the family-like-bond that is created between residents and Carefor staff at this special residential facility. We are very proud of the work they do each day. 

Our retirement homes in Pembroke are a home away from home for many. Support our health care heroes who are making a difference each and every day.     

Amener la physiothérapie directement chez les gens

Matthew is a physiotherapist with 26 years of experience. He has been working in the community for Carefor the past 3 years. A typical day for him starts with reviewing paperwork before he hits the road making sure he is ready to see his clients. “With home care, you can be dealing with just about anything,” says Matthew “we are seeing people that are unable to get out of their home for the most part.”

Once Matthew arrives at the home for an initial physio visit, he will assess the individual and their needs along with their environment and any existing equipment. Upon assessment “if it goes really well we might actually prescribe some exercise or some kind of pain management strategies as well,” says Matthew.

The progress of a client is then measured in follow up visits. These follow up visits allow Matthew to see how far the client has come and gives him the chance to adjust exercises for continual improvement. “My job is to help the person help themselves.”

To find out more about our Physiotherapy Services click here or contact