Heather Doyle/Owner: A Personal Story
My mom had been institutionalized most of my childhood. She was a busy mom of five young children. Her story was a very sad one, involving a very tragic medical error that forever altered the lives of the entire family unit.
From a very young age, we kids learned to be strong independent people, and beating all odds, all five of us turned out to be kind, generous, successful adults.
I recall in in my early adult years, as an employee in Centracare, our community Psychiatric Hospital, the many calls I received from my co-workers throughout my years of employment, to my unit while I was actively "on shift" summoning me visit the "active treatment" ward to sit with my mom while she was breaking down or simply "giving up" on life. Mental illness and disabilities played a huge role in my world!
Sadly, as life sometimes happens, four of us five siblings, left our childhood province of New Brunswick. relocating to Alberta, to peruse various life goals and careers. We relied on our sole sibling back home to care for our aging mother. Although he did the best he could with this limited knowledge and expertise in the medical field, my brother had little control over the multitude of "procedures" and medication cocktails my senior mom received.
As years passed and my own family grew, I was able to fly back east to reconnect with my mother. Sadly, to my dismay, I visited a very frail, emotional, broken senior. My heart broke for her. She had become dependent, compliant, so old, so helpless. After every visit, I would reluctantly return to my life in Alberta.
One winter night I received a call from my brother wanting to discuss the reality of requiring DNR (do not resuscitate) order signed, on moms behalf . This was the recommendation of the medical team, working with my mother. What quality of life did she have? She was alone, depressed and in a somewhat vegetative state.
After talking with my brother, I reflected on her life, my life, and I wondered why, throughout my career, I cared for other individuals, similar to her, getting paid, and why did I not consider this for my own mom?
Through discussion with my family here in Alberta, I decided to make the commitment to give my mom the best quality of life I was able, for the remainder of her life. On November 26/2015 at 6am, my daughter flew from Alberta to New Brunswick to remove my mom from the nursing home, and return her to Alberta to reside with her family. On Sunday, November 29/2015, my mom stepped ground on Alberta soil, reconnecting the four of her children who had been absent from her life for over 20 years.
Words cannot describe how very frail my mom was. For the first few months, my mom slept, cried, barely walked, was not audible, and wore diapers 24/7. A very sad time for all of us. She had no idea who any of us were, where she was, or who she was for that matter, and no matter how frequently we told her, she never remembered. Her awake time lasted minutes and the cycle began again.
Fast forward to today, one year later, my mom is off the majority of her medications, wouldn't wear a diaper if you paid her (she is now a fashion diva!), requiring only heart mediation and vitamins. This amazing lady runs circles around us and god knows, she has a memory of an elephant! The lady forgets nothing, except where she hides her treats (so she doesn't have to share!). She paints, she cooks, she cleans, she adores her time with the animals at home and at my sister's anchorage. Most importantly she has amazing relationships with all five of her children, her nineteen grandchildren (including step) and thirteen (and counting) great grandchildren. She has an amazing life.
God knows, some days, we try to find out the mischief her and her partner in crime get up to!! ( the lady can keep a secret!!) The transformation, simply with inclusion, caring, validation, interaction and love, has transformed a broken woman into a pretty cool senior. This amazing lady is my motivation to develop a structured, quality, holistic, supervised program for my community members, providing social interaction, quality programs, laughter and caring .
Donna is the Program Manager of our Autism Department
Hi! I’m Donna! I’m proud to say I was born in Sydney Mines Cape Breton. I have lived in Massachusetts, Quebec and Nova Scotia, prior to settling here in Airdrie Alberta, four years ago.
A mother of three children, I returned to school when my children were grown. I graduated with honors from the Continuing Care Assistant program at Nova Scotia Community Collage and was awarded both the Highest Achievement Award and the Service Learner Award.
I have attained a wealth of experience working in front line care at nursing homes, as well as program delivery in Adult Day programs.
In addition to being the Program Manager and developing the program for our Autism department at Loving Hands, I continue to work as a support worker and mentor with a young Autistic man.
I have developed and implemented a program, that has taught my client basic life skills, as well as how to read, write and communicate more effectively.
Building on the success of my program, I have mentored parents and caregivers of other Autistic individuals and continue to share my program to their families and caregivers.
I am passionate about helping people, to allow them to reach their full potential. I feel that everyone should be encouraged to have a full and rich life.
In my spare time, I enjoy walking, crafts, quilting and traveling to Nova Scotia to spend time with my four grandchildren.
Maresha is the Program Manager of our Disability/Senior Department
Hi there, my name is Maresha and I’m the newest member to the Loving Hands team. I like to have fun! I enjoy laughter and making others feel warm and appreciated. We are all valuable on this journey called life, and I try to embrace the greatness that every individual possesses.
I have a background in healthcare, and worked directly in client care for many years. I am passionate about treating others with dignity and respect, and feel strongly that everyone deserves someone to advocate for their right to ethical treatment. Mindfulness is something I strive for, so I believe it is important to be present in all that we do and with all those we encounter. I am committed to growth in all facets of life as I believe there’s always room for improvement.
I’m excited to be a part of the Loving Hands family. I feel there is a special energy emanating from the culture I am witnessing, and I’m happy to be a part of its mission. Everyone at Loving Hands is amazing in one way or another. Thank you to the Loving Hands team for welcoming me aboard!
To provide a comprehensive day service to community members, providing social interaction, laughter and caring that enhances the lives of seniors and adult persons with disabilities, so that they can remain in their homes and communities.
To be leaders in the community that enrich the lives of the people we serve keeping families together and communities involved
Laughter - We believe laughter is the best medicine for participants and staff to help keep them in good health and good cheer!
Empowerment -We believe the empowerment process promotes participants the ability to maintain a sense of inner strength and control through connection with the staff and the ability to feel valued with a sense of satisfaction, self-efficacy, control, connectedness, and sense of inclusion.
Integrity - the commitment of being honest and truthful, with full transparency and being accountable to our actions, promoting respect and trust with the participants, families and community we serve.
We're proud to be a member of the following:
"This wonderful program is about more than sitting and having coffee every day. Every day there is something new going on. From crafting to karaoke and everything in between, this business offers seniors and disabled persons activities to do to keep their body and mind active. Heather carefully plans each month so that the needs of her clients will be met. She provides them with opportunities they might not have the chance to experience. Heather's knowledge, research and determination makes this a must try for seniors and those that are disabled. Warning though: Once you try one experience, you will be hooked and want to keep coming back for more experiences. Awesome"!
"I visited Loving Hands today and was very pleasantly surprised. Heather has put so much heart into setting up casual and comfortable rooms for so many activities. I know that anyone who enters the door looking for caring friendship will feel very much at home. She has a kind and generous heart and makes you feel so very special. I wish she had opened her doors while my mother was still able to get out. I know she would have been a faithful regular"
"Seniors To Go Service would like to welcome Heather and her new senior service ( Loving Hands ) to Airdrie. I've had the pleasure of meeting Heather's mother, the inspiration for this service along with a personal tour of the facility. I am excited to meet the new baby house kitten (momma is a rag doll). I especially enjoy the stories/shares that get posted on Facebook....check out 'The Apron' story. Loving Hands offers a vast variety of activities and I see this facility a great place to make those new friends that live locally"
"This place is absolutely fantastic. Great programs and the facility is set up so beautifully. I would recommend this place to anyone that is looking for a place to send there loved one to during the day"
"My mom has so much fun at this center! She is always exited to participate. Heather has so much variety of activities that allows for both group participation and individual activities. My mom most especially love the painting and WII bowling! Heather and Jackie are very kind and respectful to the participants. Lots of laughter and genuine caring. I would highly recommend this center. Heather has decorated it to feel homey and safe. Her experience and skill set are impressive. Thank you for allowing us to be part of your loving hands family!"
"I came to the open house and I was just blown away. This service and support is exactly what our town needs. Heather welcomes anyone who would like to learn more with open arms...and I would trust my lovex ones with her. The building has many great rooms for different fun activities...and I look forward to meeting their new mascot and client therapy kitten!!!"
"I love spending time there! This place is wonderful and so beautiful to spend time in. It's great for people my age who need some social connections. Heather is such a dedicated and loving person to be around."
"I worked with Heather in the recreation department at a retirement residence in Airdrie, AB.
She has a positive attitude and a gifted ability to reach out to all people with love and kindness.
I watched her interact with the seniors with humor, compassion and understanding.
Her creativity and deep desire to help make another person's day special is another of her talents.
I would recommend Heather's program for everyone and would not hesitate a second on bringing my loved ones here."
"Heather is a wonderful person. The programs that are offered at her new business is better than most support facilities. Having a planned day to day every month, and not just being about the pay cheque- she really does care so much!! She not only is engaging with clients but does this in a fun, healthy and supportive way with every client ensuring that all needs are met!
....Not only does she let people try this service for free on somedays! I recommend anyone who is even considering trying this to just drop by to see what it is about! I guarantee you'll find so many positives".
"Thank you for this much needed service in Airdrie!
I utilize this service on a weekly basis and honestly don't know what I would do without it. I continue to be very impressed with the dedication and professionalism of this organization. The activities are varied, age appropriate and most important, fun! The staff are experienced, compassionate, creative and flexible. Heather and Jackie go over and above to ensure that the needs of the individual are not just met but exceeded.
The rates are more than reasonable, the hours are great but what I appreciate most is that I feel completely at ease with my individual being in their care so I can have some me time.
Again Thank You for your amazing service."