Susan Hill enjoying a game of cards with her mother, Elizabeth

As a lifelong local, Susan Hill always knew of the Villa, but she could never have guessed how significant it would become to her. On any given day, you will find Susan on our Campus of Care, whether it be with her mother in long-term care or helping out at Margaret’s Place Hospice.

When Margaret’s Place opened in September, Susan was amongst the earliest to sign up as a volunteer. She has since become an integral part of the hospice team, living out the mission she was first introduced to at the Villa.

In 2019, Susan’s mother, Elizabeth, began losing the ability to care for herself. At 99 years old, she valued her independence and had no intention of giving it up, but it was clear some extra help was needed.

Susan and her siblings considered their options, gravitating towards one home in particular: St. Joseph’s Villa. Though they worried about how her mother might handle the transition to long-term care, Susan and her family trusted what they had already seen at the Villa – the compassion; the kindness; and the mission to care for everyone with open arms.

The family’s earliest experience with the Villa came in 1994 when Susan’s grandfather-in-law became a resident. It was also around that time when her sister, Pat, became an employee of the Villa’s dietary department, where she would remain until her retirement.

“We’ve seen first-hand how the Villa’s mission and care impact people. It was comforting knowing mom would be in good hands, with all of us just a stone’s throw away. And most importantly, she could keep her independence, with just a little extra support.”

Though Elizabeth has spent most of her time at the Villa in the restricted realities of a pandemic, her care has been everything they hoped for. She has the extra support she needs, still has her independence and has a team of dedicated, compassionate staff surrounding her.

“We’re treated like family here. Even when I’m not at the Villa, I can rest comfortably knowing mom is being looked after by people who have taken the time to know her. They understand and appreciate what’s important to mom and our family.”

This past December, Susan and her family saw an opportunity to capture a moment they’ve been thinking about for many years: five generations of family, together. With a date set and a photographer booked, the Villa staff was on board to celebrate this special moment.

Five generations of family, together

“It’s a photo and a memory that we cherish. The staff dressed mom up and got really into it. They knew it was special to us and did everything to make it happen.”

Elizabeth recently celebrated her 101st birthday and though only Susan could be with her in person because of COVID-19 visitor policies, the therapeutic recreation team facilitated a video call where Elizabeth could see and send kisses to her entire family. Now, as we return to a sense of normalcy, Elizabeth won’t be limited to seeing them only through a screen. She can once again hug them, kiss them, and embrace them.

As we accept residents into care at the recently-opened Margaret’s Place Hospice, many faces continue to deliver our mission of compassionate care for all. Susan carries on this mission.

“The addition of hospice just makes sense. Every day I see the peace and comfort it brings to residents and families who come into care. I see the way the staff support them, helping them enjoy every precious moment. The Villa campus really has become a place where memories of a lifetime are made.”

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