Mont St. Joseph celebrates grandparents
For one day of the year, the Mont St. Joseph nursing home transforms into the liveliest spot in Prince Albert.
It happened this Sunday, on Grandparents Day. This year, staff and volunteers strung up balloons, inflated a bouncy castle and welcomed well over a hundred family members to the festivities.
“It’s just a nice day to have everyone together,” said Glenn McMullen, chair of the Mont St. Joseph Foundation.
The weather cooperated for one of the day’s signature events: a stroll around the Mont St. Joseph grounds. Using wheelchairs and other mobility aids, family members pushed their loved ones along the home’s verdant garden paths.
“It gets the residents out and they get some fresh air and some enjoyment,” McMullen said. “Family and friends push them around the perimeter of the building. They come in with a new appetite after their walk and have some food.”
For any residents left without visitors, volunteers and board members are ready to jump in and lend a hand.
“Nobody is left out if they want to go for the walk,” McMullen said.
Rick Lawrence is one of the home’s newest residents. He said he’s planning to head out for his tour of the grounds a little later in the day. For now, he’s enjoying a live musical performance, featuring country classics like Johnny Cash’s Folsom Prison Blues.
The music, the food and the festivities all earn high praise from Lawrence. But most of all, the day is about spending time with family.
“My son-in-law and grandchildren are here,” he said. “So I’m looking forward to taking them around and showing them where I stay.”
McMullen said Grandparents Day is also one of their most successful fundraising events. They collect pledge sheets from family and supporters and solicit corporate donations. RBC stopped by to present a giant $5,000 cheque.
“Of course one of the main functions is to raise money and that’s what we do,” he said. “It’s a pretty successful event for that.”
Eighty-nine-year-old Armand Rabut spent the day reminiscing with his son, daughter and grandchildren. He said they talked about “many things,” but especially the family farm 30 miles outside of Prince Albert.
“(We talk) about the olden days, and what they used to do at home on the farm,” he explained.
He said he appreciates the hustle and bustle of Grandparents Day, in small doses. Usually, he said, Mont St. Joseph is a place to enjoy peace and quiet.
“It’s alright for a day; I wouldn’t want to spend a whole week (like this),” he said. “I’d need another wheelchair for that one, one with a motor.”
His daughter Armande said the workers at Mont St. Joseph are doing a great job.
“It’s just a fantastic day,” he said. “It shows how grandparents are very appreciated. It’s just good to be with dad.”
Family and volunteers take Mont St. Joseph residents out for a stroll around the premises.
Armand Rabut sits with his daughter Armande and other family members at Mont St. Joseph’s Grandparents Day celebration.