Make Us Part of Your Story: Jean & Lynn

Jean, 99, at Chartwell since 2012, with daughter Lynn

When asked what the secret to her long life is, Jean shrugs her shoulders, but her daughter, Lynn, is quick to pipe up on her behalf. “I think her secret is that she’s worked hard all of her life and to this day she remains active. That, and she has the best attitude. Mom is so positive and looks for the good in every situation.” Jean admits she does keep busy, especially since she moved into her Chartwell retirement residence. “I don’t have time to be bored here. When I wake up, I have a shower and go down for breakfast. After that I exercise—sometimes I even attend chair yoga—and we play Bingo three times a week.” She also enjoys the home’s many outings, including their “mystery bus tours,” where residents are taken to surprise destinations. “They take us to different parts of the city. In the fall we drive around looking at the coloured leaves, and at Christmas we view all the lights and decorations,” Jean says. “We also celebrate birthdays once a month with big cakes. There always seems to be a party going on.”

It was following a health scare nearly four years ago that Jean and Lynn began to look into retirement living options together. As Lynn explains, the family had high expectations going in. “We were looking for a place that had activities Mom was interested in, good food, friendly staff and residents, and most of all was safe,” she recalls. “At the end of a day, somewhere that felt like home where Mom would be happy and healthy.” When they first visited Chartwell Stonehaven, Jean confesses she was pleasantly surprised. “Retirement living was altogether different than I expected,” she reveals. “I assumed I wouldn’t have as much freedom as I did, but it’s not like that at all. People come and go as they please, it’s a very lively atmosphere. I like the lifestyle.”

Despite all of the friends Jean now has, and the multiple activities she’s involved in, she most looks forward to her weekly shopping and lunch dates with Lynn. In fact, the pair sometimes go out upwards of four times a week! “My mother is a beautiful woman, inside and out—very caring, lots of energy, and loves to have a good time,” Lynn says. Jean has kind words for her in turn. “Lynn is a loving daughter, and we’ve always been close, because she’s the baby of the family.” Though Lynn is a regular at the residence, she explains how comforted she feels, knowing her mom is surrounded by trusted staff who have her well-being in mind when she’s not around. She was particularly taken by how the home rallied around Jean when some important people in her life passed away. “The staff are amazing, they all know Mom by name,” she tells. “When Mom was going through a hard time, they sent her flowers, gave her hugs and kisses…she felt safe and supported, and we so appreciated that.”

As the pair are already planning their next outing to buy Jean some new pieces for her spring wardrobe, Lynn jokes, “I have to work around Mom’s schedule, because she doesn’t like to miss anything going on here.” Jean nods in agreement, as she loathes missing her Bingo tournaments. Lynn suggests that her mom ought to use her winnings to buy her lunch next week, to which Jean fires back, “I bought lunch last time!”