Robert and his wife Tina were avid gardeners.
Tina was the one who spearheaded the love of gardening and the passion for tulips.
Robert’s daughter Joanne recalls her younger years when her parents purchased their farm and that on their arrival, the landscape on the farm was void of flowers except for a few hollyhocks. Her mother promptly began preparing flower beds at the front of the house and then eventually all the way around the house. Each year she would make the gardens larger, until she had planted flower beds all over the property– behind the outhouse; in the barnyard, down the narrow laneway, and along the edges of freshly plowed fields. Those first gardens on the farm were filled with her favorite flowers, the tulip.
Tulips now have a special significance for Robert. Now thanks to a resident-centered program implemented at Warkworth Place in Ottawa, Robert was once again able to reconnect with his wife through the special flowers.
Robert’s special day began at 5:30 a.m. on May 17, 2018 when Robert’s granddaughter Tamara arrived to the home to assist Robert with preparing for his exciting trip. The four-hour adventure that lay before him was his long awaited journey to view the tulips at the Ottawa Tulip festival.
A guided tour of the city and Dows Lake/Commissioner’s Park and a wonderful display of tulips marked the beginning of Robert’s day in Ottawa. This also included lunch at Tucker’s Marketplace with his grandson Joshua and a visit to the Byward Market.
Robert said the Tulip Festival brought back a flood of memories. The couple had always dreamed of visiting the Tulip Festival together, but when Tina’s health declined, other things took priority. Unfortunately, Robert lost his wife Tina shortly after his admission to Warkworth Place to join his wife. It appeared this was a dream that would just not come true.
Robert’s time in Commissioners Park was spent in quiet reflection amongst the orange, red and white tulips, his wife’s favorites.
The excursion ended at approximately 3:00 p.m. when Robert left the city of Ottawa, stopped for a short dinner break in Perth, and made his way back towards home. He was home and in bed by 9:30 p.m., dream fulfilled and new stories to tell.
Robert’s love for gardening and tulips continued after his admission to Warkworth Place. As a commemoration of Canada’s 150th birthday, Robert planted 150 tulips in the front gardens at the home. Residents and visitors have had the pleasure of enjoying the fruits of his labor each spring as they bloom and show their brilliance.
“We are grateful to the staff and volunteers who take the time to listen to what’s important to each of our residents and try to find opportunities to connect the two,” remarked Ryan Bell, Chief Operating Officer of Southbridge Care Homes. “The Bridge to Dreams program is a purposeful way for us to honour our residents in a sustainable and meaningful way.”
Warkworth Place is a fully accredited 60-resident home located in the Village of Warkworth.
Southbridge Care Homes
Creating Caring Environments for seniors is a remarkable responsibility that Southbridge Care Homes takes seriously. Managing more than 30 long-term care homes, retirement and independent living communities across Ontario, we strive to ensure our residents feel connected, supported, loved and cared for.
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