Make Us Part Of Your Story: DeAnn’s Story

DeAnn, Office Manager, Working at Chartwell since 2013

DeAnn has always appreciated the seniors in her life. Growing up, she was close to both sets of grandparents, who made no secret of how much they adored her and her brother. She describes her maternal grandparents as warm and affectionate people, and her paternal grandparents as “endearing, talkative, and very French!” DeAnn’s loving relationships with them almost certainly led to her fondness for the senior community, and she’d discover during the early days of her career that she was instinctually hardwired to go the extra mile for them.

During DeAnn’s time as a restaurant manager, she found herself gravitating toward her older patrons, and reflects that she also took greater care of the senior customers she worked with during her time as a customer service representative at the Royal Bank of Canada. “Whenever I interacted with seniors at the restaurant or bank, I felt I wanted to do more for them,” she says. When she stumbled upon a job opportunity at Chartwell Kamloops Retirement Residence, DeAnn explains feeling like her puzzle was beginning to piece itself together. She applied for the Office Manager position and was hired on shortly after, a career change her loved ones wholly endorsed. “I think I was drawn to the industry out of a sense of love, loyalty and respect for seniors,” she says. “I really feel like it’s my calling.”

Since starting at Chartwell Kamloops, DeAnn has established a heartwarming routine with a group of her residents: as soon as she gets in every morning, the first thing they do is give each other a great big hug. “It’s a habit now,” she smiles. “I think it’s very important to open your heart to every resident; they deserve that attention and a moment of love each day.” Within a month of joining the team, DeAnn had gotten to know all 103 of her residents by name, and has subsequently established supportive relationships with their families, as she is often their first point of contact. It’s obvious that she is very well-liked and respected by all, especially as residents have a tendency to congregate around her desk: “Sometimes we’ll all break into song, or just share a laugh together. I love to warm their hearts.” Won over by her positive work environment and all the special people living and working in it, DeAnn recently moved her uncle into the residence, too!

Giving back to residents in her community has become a family affair. DeAnn’s husband often drives residents to appointments at the local hospital through his job at Handy Dart, while her son works as a dishwasher at the home and often volunteers to spend time with residents. DeAnn is proud her son respects the senior generation as much as she does, and is glad he is exposed to her residents’ stories and rich histories: “It’s gratifying to watch him with the residents. He’s so interactive and hands-on with them; he’s transforming into a young man right before my eyes.”