Our team is very proud of the role it plays in the lives of many francophone seniors in the Greater Toronto Area!
We’ve put together the following testimonials (translated from French) to give you an idea of the impact CAH has had on the community. Visit our Overview of CAH Services page for a description of our services and programs for francophone (or francophile) seniors and their caregivers.
Do you have any questions? Contact us at 416-365-3350 or firstname.lastname@example.org.
TO TRY IT IS TO ADOPT IT
Mr. Salim Sarwari is a new client of CAH’s Adult Day Program (ADP) in Oshawa. He was referred to us by his occupational therapist. Like many people, he had preconceived ideas about this type of service. A nice surprise awaited him, including the transportation service provided in Oshawa.
I was hesitant at first, and I didn’t know what to expect. I did not know how much I’d like that, or how it would be for me since I’m an older man. I thought that there would be little attention paid to me and that I would simply observe the action from a distance. I didn’t know how much I’d be engaged. I also assumed that I would not be able to attend on a regular basis due to my reduced mobility, making it difficult to get there without a car. (Annual Report 2020)
Monique Makanda Nseyo, client in the community, found a voice to be heard through CAH:
I was a long time membre of the CAH’s Senior Centre (NOTE: It is now called CAL for Centre for Active Living). I used to like that. I came to do exercise sessions. In 2016, I found myself in the emergency room after diz- ziness and a fall. I can’t really walk anymore and I live alone. After some time, my friends from Place Saint-Laurent told Clarisse about me. She contacted the Toronto Central Community Care Access Centre (CCAC) for me and they sent a physiotherapist to assess my situation, see how I was settled and how I moved around my apartment. He immediately said I needed a walker and other adjustments at home. Clarisse assigned me a case manager who helped me get a grant that paid $300 of the $400 walker cost. I now use CAH’s Homemaking Program to assist me. It was very necessary. Without CAH, I had no voice to make myself heard. (Annual Report 2018)
PEACE OF MIND
Pierre Moatti, the son of Mrs. Moatti who came to live at Place Saint-Laurent, our affordable housing units, a year ago, told us the following.
My mother lived with us. Witnessing the physical and cognitive decline of this extraordinary woman was the most depressing experience of my life. Eventually, she needed to live in a safer environment since my wife and I could not be with her during the day to ensure that she took her medication and to prepare her meals. We wanted her to be in a Francophone environment. Since there was no vacancy at Place Saint-Laurent at that time, we decided to find a residence for her in a Montreal neighbourhood, which was familiar to her. The problem was that the family was far away, and we began to realize that the overworked staff at this residence was only able to do the bare minimum for my mother. What a joy it was when we learned that an apartment had become available at CAH! We immediately noticed the difference in the level of attention. We get regular updates from my mother’s case manager keeping us informed of any changes and emerging needs, large and small, so that we can easily respond and come to her assistance. For us, it is proof that at the centre of CAH, there is heart, and a true dedication to its mission. What peace of mind… (Annual Report 2019)
Following the death of his mother, Madeleine Kilmer, in 2019, we received this touching note from Joël addressed to the entire team. Mme Kilmer had attended our Adult Day Program in Toronto for many years and stayed with us in our Reintegration Care Unit at the end of her life.
My name is Joel, Madeleine Kilmer’s son. I will be eternally grateful for the support of the management team and all the employees of CAH for the tremendous help they gave to my mother, and from which I also benefited at it made my life far less difficult. My mother was able to end her life in dignity, with a lot of love and friends around her. In my opinion, CAH is ESSENTIAL to respect- ing the dignity of seniors. (Annual Report 2019)
Mme Badour knows she can count on CAH for her specific needs:
I find the staff at CAH very kind and polite. The case managers and recreationists are patient and passionate in performing their work; they are very nice. This is terrific for a disabled person like me. I receive home help and am accompanied every time I have to go for a doctor’s appointment (Lord knows I have quite a few!). I wouldn’t be able to manage alone without this help. I want to thank them for their dedication, and above all, I want to thank the people who manage CAH; I wish them all the best for the work they do for us. (Annual Report 2017)
I like it here. I’m happy and I feel at home.
– Gabrielle Klein (1923-2017), résidente de Place Saint-Laurent
Isorine Marc, the founder of the local arts organization Jamii, recognizes CAH’s involvement.
CAH gives us access to activity rooms and its terrace but our collaboration with the organization goes beyond that. At the beginning of the pandemic, we organized a show on the terrace, which residents were able to enjoy from their balcony. We also did a video project that involved residents in the creative process. We are delighted to continue this collaboration in the future. (Annual Report 2020)
When Radio-Canada came to CAH to report on how our organization has been serving seniors for 40 years, one of our residents, Mr. Zenon Nicayenzi, made this remark, full of Burundian wisdom, about community spirit:
Your next-door neighbour, the resident of the apartment next door, is your relative. It is not your family in Montreal or in Vancouver, who will call 9-1-1 if you fall – it is your neighbour! Family is the people who share your day-to-day life. (Annual Report 2019)
For the 40th anniversary of CAH during a celebration held in March 2019, a long-time resident, Isabelle Dournayan, composed and humorously performed a song (in French), which expresses what CAH has meant to her. Her song clearly resonated with the other residents of Place Saint-Laurent because she was most warmly applauded!
For the happiness of those at Centres Heritage,
For the pleasure and health of seniors,
A place where we can enjoy our leisure
And have fun with a lot of pleasure.
This is the time of our Golden Age.
Now we breathe freely,
No bosses anymore, nor ever,
Our enslavementy is definitely over.
We may be retired,
but we are far from finished.
We enjoy lovely walks and fun excursions,
CAH offers many diversions.
For all of us, it’s our home sweet home, where you are never alone…
(Annual report 2019)
Mark Vizniuk describes the moving first impression of a new resident at Place Saint-Laurent:
My mother was French-Canadian. When I came to Montreal on my motorcycle to see Expo 67, I met half of my family, on my mother’s side. I really developed an emotional attach- ment with French. I was an English teacher in Quebec. When I moved to Ontario in the 1980s, I taught enriched French, not just the language but also French art, music and culture. Since I was very active in the Francophone community, I learned that Place Saint-Laurent existed. I was living on a boat and the time was coming when I couldn’t anymore. I contacted Toronto Housing in 2013 and specifically asked them to put me on the waiting list for Centres d’Accueil Héritage. I was told there were 60 people on that list. It took 5 years but I finally got a place and I arrived in May 2018! This truly is a welcoming centre, worthy of its name “Accueil”! I feel comfortable here. We greet each other, we chat in French. I feel like I’ve returned to Quebec. I even found a resident who is from St-Léonard d’Aspen, a very small town in Quebec where I once taught! Everyone is very nice. Barbara the director mentioned me that CAH had community gardens so I now have a garden spot and I became a gardener. I feel like I’ve died and I’ve come to heaven! (Annual report 2018)
Mireille, a long-time résident of Place Saint-Laurent, well known for her jovial spirit describes her experience:
The services are really great. There is help on site 24 hours a day if anyone needs them, and the staff are discreet and always available. The food is very good, and members of the security team are always on site. It’s like a little village with very pleasant neighbours for the most part. I like being able to speak French in this friendly setting. (Annual Report 2017)
ACTIVE ONE DAY, ALWAYS ACTIVE
As of this year, Place Saint-Laurent (PSL) counts among its residents one of the 12 founders of CAH, Pierre Gravel! Having contributed his entire life to the promotion of the French-speaking culture, he continues to devote his energy to this cause at PSL.
I had in my personal collection beautiful French books on various countries. I wanted more people to benefit from them as they reflect the multicultural diversity of CAH. So I donated them to the residents’ library. With the help of Ayda from the CAL, we organized a special coffee break to show off the books recently added to the library. About 25 readers borrowed the new books on the spot! (Annual Report 2020)
Toronto seniors want to stay informed and active. The following comment left by two CAH clients, Charles and Habeeba, on our Facebook page, is representative of the feedback that our recreationaists receive on a regular basis.
Thank you to CAH for providing us with good seminars. Thank you especially for the exercises! We are ready to face the winter! (Annual Report 2020)
TO FEND OFF ISOLATION
Ms. Lise Guibord has participated in the Adult Day Program (ADP) in Oshawa since January 2019. The third daughter of six, she grew up on a farm in Montfort in the Ottawa area. She became a renowned couturière, which allowed her to support her family. She mar-ried and had two daughters who are now mothers too. Lise admits that it is not easy to live alone. When she heard about the ADP at the clinic she visits, she realized that participating in this service would give her a good reason to get out of the house more often, help her stay active and engaged, and break the sense of isolation she was feeling.
The fact that CAH offers services in French was particularly comforting because French is her mother tongue, and it makes her happy to be able to express herself easily. She comes three times a week and enjoys all the activities although she particu- larly likes crafts and anything artistic. Her comment on the ADP?
“People here may be old but they do not appear so! The group wants to stay active, and we really enjoy doing it together!” (Annual Report 2019)
Nahal Farid needed a hand…
Some friends and I discovered CAH through the Egyptian Club. Some social workers came to give a presentation about CAH’s services and sometime later a Day Program annex opened for us on Eglinton. We had a lot of interesting and varied activities that I liked very much. Things have changed since then; the Eglinton branch closed, which is somewhat regrettable. Now I go once a week to the Day Program at Place Saint-Laurent. I’m happy to meet people who speak French. It gets me out of the loneliness of my apartment. We share activities together and benefit from health workshops that help us manage our chronic conditions, and we do physical and mental exercises that give my brain a workout and help improve my health. CAH is a very nice place, and it’s a change for me.
Every time I go there, I meet interesting people. I also receive home help every two weeks. This service helps me a great deal, especially in the beginning. There was so much clutter in my apartment that I didn’t know where to start! I needed encouragement and the case managers provided that, so that I could arrange my belongings in a more orderly fashion. In fact, a friend, by way of a compliment, told me, “now you’ll be able to have visitors over again”. That said, I really like CAH and the services I receive, because without them, I wouldn’t be able to manage alone. (Annual Report 2017)
Our Reintegration Care Unit Manager, Hélène Ngombe, talks about the relationship she builds with her clients.
Clients who arrive at the unit need time to adjust to their new environment. I’ve learned to listen to them better, to better explain how we operate, to develop a relationship of trust that facilitates their convalescence. It makes all the difference. (Annual Report 2020)
À propos de la nouvelle unité des soins de transition, Emmeline Bellerive, préposée aux soins depuis deux ans chez CAH, a remarqué:
Avant, quand les clients sortaient de l’hôpital, ils devaient rentrer chez eux. Je m’inquiétais pour eux, j’avais peur qu’ils ne tombent. Les clients qui sont dans l’unité sont sous notre surveillance avec lit et douche adaptés qui leur permettent de se rétablir plus vite. (Rapport annuel 2019)
With respect to the new Reintegration Care Unit, Emmeline Bellerive, a personal support worker who has been with CAH for two years, noted:
Before, when clients were discharged from hospital, they had to go home. I was worried about them; I was afraid they would fall. The clients who are in the unit are under our supervision. With our adapted beds and shower, they can recover in security and more quickly. (Annual Report 2019)
Geta Maftei, employée depuis 25 ans, décrit son parcours à CAH:
I have been working at CAH since March 31, 1993. There was only a team of twelve people at that time. I first worked in the kitchen part-time, a few hours a week and twelve hours a week on weekends. I had volunteers help with everything, to prepare and clear the tables, to pound the potatoes and cut the vegetables, to do the dishes and put them away. We had big meals on Tuesdays and Fridays, that was when many people came as well as during the holidays. Once a month, there was the brunch. I particularly remember the time when we celebrated the 100th anniversary of a resident who was Romanian. What a beautiful evening! We did Romanian cooking, put on Romanian music. There was a group of folk dancers.
While I was working, I took the caregiver course two days a week. In 1995, when CAH Support Services (SH) department opened, I started working as a support worker at Place Saint-Laurent and in the community (now, SH is only open to residents). There are things that have not changed over time, like bingo on Monday nights, but the building has changed a lot. CAH began to renovate everything, the corridors, the kitchen, the dining room. Before, there was no security guard.
A lot has happened in 25 years. Now we participate to a lot of training, which is important to help us do a good job. Today, we use the computer much more than before. We have more responsibilities than before and I realise I have learned a lot. And here I am, still here after all these years! I like my job, I like working with seniors. I like providing a good service to clients to help them and encourage them to stay independent, to live well longer. (Annual Report 2018)