By Hollie Grace James –
Seated comfortably in her elegant yet accessible suite, painted a soothing shade of cream with her own handcrafted needlepoint creations hung on the wall, Betty MacLeod reminisces fondly about life, love, and, in light of its ten year anniversary, her arrival (and the subsequent decade-and-counting of her life) as the very first resident at Amica Mature Lifestyle Westboro Park. Delivering “a superior quality of life” to Canadian seniors, Betty is certainly enjoying her time here and likes to relax with a cup of tea or a friendly but fierce game of bridge. At 98 years of age, not everything comes as easily to her as it used to, but her health is excellent, with only some minor decline to her eyesight and hearing.
Born in Carleton Place in 1920, Beth Dummert (known as Betty to friends and family) grew up as an only child, attending Thaber Business College after graduating high school. Successful in taking the government exam, she made the move to Ottawa in 1940 and began working at the Naval Service, where she remained until after the war. Her first and only marriage was to Duncan MacLeod in 1958, (“a very fine gentleman I tell ya”) who unfortunately passed suddenly only three months shy of their 50th wedding anniversary. They never had any children, so being the last of her immediate family, it was time to make the transition to a place where she could feel supported, and although according to Betty “a retirement home is not quite your home,” she wanted to find somewhere she could easily, and happily, adapt. And according to Betty, she did, indeed, find the perfect place.
It was ten years ago that Betty MacLeod noticed a large crowd gathering on Richmond Road and stopped to join passerby watching sod being turned for the building that would become Amica at Westboro Park. After Duncan’s death, Betty’s cousin gently encouraged her to look into “that new build just down the street.” Betty booked a visit to check out the model suites and learn what Amica at Westboro Park was all about (which they still do today, for those who are interested). She signed up the very next day. “I didn’t want to look after a house and, being alone without any family, I had to do something,” says Betty. “I’m happy and content here and hope not to leave until I’m called from up above.”
From movies in their very own theatre to daily activities such as trivia and painting, there’s no shortage of things for Betty to do. Although Betty says she’s happy to do her own thing, she encourages others to take part if they can, whether it’s staying active in the fitness centre or taking shopping trips and other excursions by bus. Throughout the last ten years, Betty has discovered companionship, a new lifestyle, and most importantly, a home away from home. And now finally, she has the opportunity to express a decade full of thank yous for everything that she has found here.
Amica Chef didn’t let the tornado interfere with Sunday dinner
The tornado confirmed to have touched down around the Quebec-Ontario border at the end of September left in its wake a slew of loss and devastation. Amica at Westboro Park was fortunate and, like many in the area, suffered only a knockout to their power for the weekend. A loss to the power system means limited access, if any, to appliances and electronics, so residents were without hot meals the entire weekend. After mounds of jam sandwiches and a couple of cold dinners, Director of Culinary Services, Robert Hughes, took it upon himself to lug home all of the roasts, cook them in his very own oven, and bring them back steaming hot and ready to serve so that diners could finally feast on their coveted Sunday night roast beef dinner. This simple good deed represents exactly what our community is all about – coming together in good times and in bad – to support those who are in need. This community is full of amazing people who won’t think twice about lending a helping hand. – HGJ