My wife Claire Jenkins was diagnosed with Parkinson’s in 2006 and Alzheimer’s in 2014. Both diseases progressed to the point where I could not manage her care at home, even with significant assistance from contract nurses and Fraser Health home services. On Feb. 22, she was admitted to the George Derby Centre for long term care in Burnaby.
I attended Claire at the GDC daily except for one break in the summer of 2018. I was there from 8 a.m. until 6 p.m. every day from mid-August 2018 until she died peacefully on March 13, so I was able to observe the workings closely.
For the two years that she lived at GDC, Claire received excellent care and I want to acknowledge this and thank the hundred or so staff members who looked after her in the Main North Wing. These GDC employees are dedicated, hard-working, qualified people who provide a cheerful, loving environment for the residents.
In a large facility housing 300 residents, there are many tasks to perform daily. The GDC is kept spotlessly clean, meals are cooked and served on time, care attendants are busy and attentive, nurses and doctors handle medical needs, several staff members lead activity or entertainment duties, volunteers assist where they can, and management holds it all together, keeping a sharp eye out and taking corrective action when any problem arises.
The staff members are both cheerful and loving. I’m sure they take justifiable pride in their work. Training and self improvement are everyday functions.
In short, the BC Government and Fraser Health, the Board and Management of GDC should all be very satisfied with the services that the staff members at GDC provide. With the concern that a huge increase in the number of people who will need long term care will occur when the baby boomer generation matures, GDC's structure and operations should be a model to be replicated across the province. The facility itself is bright, with many windows looking out on wooded areas. The rooms are small, of course, but are perfectly adequate.
In any case, this note of praise is intended to say thank you to the many people who helped Claire live at GDC for the past two years and to encourage the provincial government and Fraser Health to consider building more not-for-profit facilities to meet the coming need.
Bill Jenkins, Burnaby