Watkin to re­tire from Recre­ation ther­apy at con­tin­u­ing care

The Drumheller Mail - - FRONT PAGE - Patrick Ko­lafa The Drumheller Mail

A woman who has ded­i­cated nearly 40 years to mak­ing the lives of se­niors in the com­mu­nity bet­ter, is re­tir­ing after a long, re­ward­ing ca­reer.

Max­ine Watkin has worked in recre­ation ther­apy for se­niors in Drumheller since 1977. At the end of the month, she will be re­tir­ing.

“If I would have stayed un­til July, I would have worked 40 years in recre­ation,” she chuck­les.

Her job is im­por­tant to the hospi­tal and the long-term res­i­dents.

“What we do is try to im­prove the lives of the long-term res­i­dents there,” she ex­plains. “We do many things, from men­tal aer­o­bics to ex­er­cises to play­ing noo­dle hockey to bak­ing. We try to cover all the do­mains. Our goal is to try to make life bet­ter for those peo­ple and fill in their time.”

On Mon­day, they were host­ing a pizza party for lunch.

She be­gan her ca­reer after grad­u­at­ing in 1965 as a cer­ti­fied nurs­ing aid. She came to Drumheller on one of her post­ings. Here she met her hus­band Dave and they were mar­ried. They left the val­ley a few years later for Red Deer and then Calgary, where she worked at the Baker Sana­to­rium. When Dave was trans­ferred back to Drumheller, she be­gan work in acute care. Shift work can be dif­fi­cult for a young par­ent and she jumped when there was a chance to get into recre­ation.

“In 1977, I trans­ferred over to the recre­ation

pro­gram, I was lucky to get in there,” she said.

This was at the very be­gin­ning of pro­vid­ing recre­ation for se­niors, and they were chart­ing new ter­ri­tory. She says it is very re­ward­ing work. “My goal was to al­ways treat them the way I would want to be treated, or my par­ents or loved ones. Over the 40 years, a lot of the res­i­dents I have known, I also had their par­ents as clients,” she said. “It hasn’t re­ally been work, it has been a plea­sure to be there. I love my work, so it was easy.”

She adds that it can be a very emo­tion­ally tax­ing job.

‘ You get close to them and then you lose them, or you see them with their health de­te­ri­o­rat­ing. Years ago I heard ‘you have to go to work, and then you leave it there when you go home.’ That’s hard.”

It will also be a dif­fi­cult day on the 31st. She says adding she is sur­rounded by great co­work­ers.

“I work with a won­der­ful team of girls and that has made life easy for me too. When you spend five days out of seven with them, I will re­ally miss them when I re­tire.”

As for re­tire­ment, she plans on work­ing more in the gar­den and spend­ing more time with Dave.

“We are al­ways proud of our yard,” she said.

mailphoto by Patrick Ko­lafa

Max­ine Watkin be­gan at the recre­ation ther­apy de­part­ment in 1977 and over those years has made an im­pact on hun­dreds of se­niors in the val­ley.

Newspapers in English

Newspapers from Canada

© PressReader. All rights reserved.