#VillaHeroes: A legacy of compassionate care –
It has been said the greatest essence of life is to be of service to others. This principle is one that Elaine Ford lives her life by. At 71 years old, Elaine is still driven by her passion for caring for others and teaching younger generations who enter into nursing.
Her journey to becoming a registered practical nurse (RPN) at St. Joseph’s Villa is one full of adventure. In 1982, Elaine left the lush rolling hills of Yorkshire, England with her family to pursue a new life in Canada. With a change of landscape came a change of aspirations, including a new career path.
“When I moved to Canada, I discovered I had an underlying passion for healthcare,” Elaine says. “I wanted to get my feet wet as soon as I could. I accepted a position in home care and did that for a few years, which ended up nudging me further down this path.”
Fulfilled by her work in home care, Elaine enrolled in Mohawk College’s RPN program to further her education, with dreams of eventually providing care at St. Joseph’s Villa. Being 41 years old when she started at Mohawk, she notes she was a late bloomer, but a bloomer, nonetheless.
“I’ve always believed in education. By taking on the program, I knew that I would expand my skill set and advance my care. I think that’s valuable no matter what age you are.”
In 2000, a decade after finishing the program (four of which were spent providing care at the Mother House), Elaine realized her dream of landing a job at St. Joseph’s Villa and has been gracing the Villa residents with her presence ever since. And her time at the Villa has been equally rewarding for her, building meaningful relationships with residents in her home area.
“There’s nothing I love more than the relationships I have with the residents,” says Elaine. “Some I’ve been caring for since my earliest days at the Villa, and there’s a true family dynamic that we have. This connection is so important for their well-being, especially in our current situation. We feed off each other’s positivity in the toughest of times.”
How or when you start is not what matters. What matters is your passion and purpose for what you do. Elaine is a testament to this. Had she not gone into nursing school, she would not have been able to touch the lives of thousands of residents and their families, or the dozens of students she’s mentored in her 21 years at the Villa. And that’s the legacy that will live on forever.