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Compassion, comfort, and rubber duckies

November 9th, 2020
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A 64-year legacy of love

There are two types of people: those who like showers and those who like baths. Adela Busko was a bath person.

When Adela died last summer at Brock Fahrni – after five years of what her husband Joe calls “out of this world care” – Joe wanted to make a gift to the Residence that would honour his wife and give back to her amazing caregivers. It was the same grace and generosity that had been the cornerstone of their 64-year marriage.

Go west, young man

Adela was born and raised in Vancouver. Joe arrived as a 21-year-old go-getter from Ontario. They met, married, raised their daughter, and began a legacy of helping and supporting others.

As Joe tells it, “We had good health, good jobs, and a good life. That gave us the ability to share.”

Adela was a lifelong member of her church, sang in the choir, and spent countless hours volunteering with the Ukrainian Catholic Women’s League. By Joe’s count, they pitched in at more than 50 of the church’s annual bazaars.

When Adela’s mom was widowed, she came to live with the couple. As mom got older and more frail, Adela changed jobs, to be closer to home so she could check on mom at lunch time. 

Over time, it became especially meaningful for the couple to donate in support our community’s most vulnerable people. For 25 years, that generosity has included Providence Health Care. Sometimes they gave where the need was greatest (like donations to Lights of Hope) and sometimes to fund specific things like a new mammogram machine, lab equipment, and CT scanner for Mount Saint Joseph Hospital.

“As long as my investments keep doing okay, I’ll keep giving back for years, and years, and years,” Joe laughs.

Care and care alike

What should have been a long, carefree retirement took a sharp detour in 2014 when Adela had a stroke and needed specialized care. Joe knew where he wanted her to go: Brock Fahrni was just a few blocks from the family home. Within the month, she was settled in. 

Joe visited her every day. When the weather was good, he would stroll around the neighbourhood pushing Adela in her wheelchair. When it wasn’t, he bundled her into the car and they’d go for drives. 

As they adjusted to this new normal, they began to focus their giving on equipment and programs that would make life more comfortable for the folks living and working at Brock Fahrni. “We gave iPads. When we saw a dilapidated scale, we gave money to buy a new one.”

Toward the end, Adela’s condition worsened as dementia set in. Joe’s voice changes when he talks about the warm, compassionate care Adela received. “They were wonderful. They were like family,” he says. 

“I was with her every day. I could see – I could feel – what the care aides were doing for Adela and the other residents. They were always, always there no matter what we needed.” 

Splish splash, I was taking a bath

When Adela died, Joe was determined to do something extra special in her memory. When the idea of a new bathtub came up, Joe knew it would be perfect. Getting in and out of the shower had become challenging for Adela and her caregivers. A specialized tub that could be raised up, with the resident in it, would make bathing so much easier and more enjoyable for everyone.

The new tub has a side entry so it’s easier for residents to get in and out without manual lifting. Plus, it’s equipped with features that include a warm air spa, sound system, and coloured lighting all designed to help residents truly enjoy their bathing experience.

“Adela would have loved it!”

By Kris Wallace

When you give to Lights of Hope, you help families at their most vulnerable. And you give caregivers the tools and equipment they need to make our residents more comfortable. We couldn’t be more grateful. Thank you!

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