In a Watershed Moment: Chartwell Chateau Cornwall Sticks Together as a Family

It was an event no one could have seen coming: a pipe on an upper floor burst, resulting in a rapid deluge powerful enough to flood several floors of the retirement community. Staff leapt into action, contacting emergency services and beginning a safe evacuation.

In all, 93 residents and pets were evacuated by Chartwell Chateau Cornwall staff and the Cornwall Fire Department. Gathered in buses, watching and waiting for emergency personnel to give the all-clear, they received the news: the damage was too extensive for them to return home.

Presented with a challenge bigger than anything they’d faced before, staff quickly made a plan, supported in every aspect by Chartwell’s corporate resources.

“Our Critical Incident Command team at corporate office was able to take over the work of arranging meals, transportation, housing and all of the billing details so that the staff could focus on making the residents feel at home in their temporary setting,” says Steve Vallevand, Senior Vice President, Retirement Operations.

For Director of Regional Operations Amy Steele, the immediate response of managers from across the region coming out to support their colleagues and the residents was a proud and defining moment.

“When everyone is focused on a common goal, ours being ensuring that our residents had an exceptional experience, it is amazing what can happen even during the least likely of times,” she says.

Arrangements were made for residents to relocate to Chartwell McConnell Retirement Residence, to local conference venue the Nav Centre, or to stay with family. Many assumed residents would disperse in different directions; however, the story unfolded another way.

“Knowing how close everyone at Chateau Cornwall is, it really didn’t surprise me,” General Manager Jasmin says. “Nobody wanted to split up. Our residents and staff are like one big family.”

Most residents chose to move together to the Nav Centre, which had enough room to accommodate everyone. Rather than let the unfortunate occurrence get them down, residents and staff embraced it as an adventure – as a family all in it together. The few residents who chose to move to Chartwell McConnell or stay with family were bussed in to enjoy time with their friends as regular activities and celebrations continued and new ones were established.

“We were together and that’s all that mattered to us,” Jasmin says. “It became a ritual for us to gather at night by the stone fireplace to reminisce and enjoy one another, as we do every day at Chateau Cornwall. We made it our home away from home.”

Exactly 111 days later, residents were welcomed back to a beautifully repaired and renovated residence. Greeted with flowers, they were escorted to their rooms and helped to unpack their things before a celebration BBQ.

“I was so proud of our team at Chateau Cornwall,” says Vallevand. “They were heroes in a situation that could have been disastrous for our residents."

As Chartwell Chateau Cornwall has taught us, it’s not just bricks and mortar that give us that at-home feeling, but the people who share our home with us.

In the words of resident Cathy, “There’s no place like home.”

We would like to extend a sincere thank-you to all Chartwell Chateau Cornwall residents and family members for their patience and fortitude during this event, as well as to the staff who demonstrated day-in and day-out their unwavering dedication to Making People’s Lives BETTER.