“Soothing our hearts and minds”: Fishermen’s Memorial Hospital staff celebrate 100-year-old resident with virtual party

David John Cunningham Waterbury virtual 100th birthday celebration (contributed by Anne-Marie Waterbury)

This letter was sent to Nova Scotia Health thanking the staff on the Veterans unit at Fishermen’s Memorial Hospital for going above and beyond to celebrate their father’s 100th birthday. It was sent from Joy Waterbury, daughter of David John Cunningham Waterbury and printed with her permission. The photo below was taken by Joy’s sister-in-law, Anne-Marie Waterbury.

On March 2, 2021, David John Cunningham Waterbury celebrated his 100th birthday with his health caregivers and neighbours on the Veterans Unit at Fishermen’s Memorial Hospital in Lunenburg. 

It was a wonderful party and our family wishes to write Nova Scotia Health in appreciation. 

With COVID-19 attendance was restricted and this was heartbreaking for us. 

His wife, Annie Mae and I, his eldest daughter, are his designated family caregivers and we were able to be present in person. 

Staff engaged virtual visitation using Zoom for Healthcare allowing more than 30 of Dad’s family and friends to attend remotely. 

Family members from B.C., Alberta and Boston were able to attend. 

Videos were shown from family prompting many memories for all of us. 

He received many certificates of congratulations from government officials and cards from friends and the many service organizations he belonged to. 

His favourite certificate was from Queen Elizabeth. He recognized her and gave us all a chuckle when he said “Oh Liz” on viewing it.

We were so impressed at how the staff was able to coordinate their first effort with a Zoom party. Staff wore many different hats as they worked together. 

Nurse Manager, Cindy Dares was hosting the call and was the camera person. She was relieved by other staff when her arms got tired. 

The Veteran’s Unit was joyfully decorated. They set up a sound system so that Dad could hear people speak. 

Heather Jansma, music therapist, learned a special requested song and assisted with volume control throughout the family videos and salutations. Amy Bezeau, recreation therapist, organized this fabulous occasion. 

Thank-you to staff and volunteers who offered us care.  Dad and our family were engaged and respected throughout the preparations.

COVID has presented many challenges and the separation from family has been especially difficult for seniors in care. 

This Virtual Care 100th birthday party has soothed our hearts and minds. 

We write so others are aware of Zoom for Healthcare video visitation options when those they love are in hospital. It is so much better than just using the phone. We hope that many more families will be able to connect this way in future.

Joy Waterbury and Family