Tour of Burnside Community Care

[slideshow] This past week, I had a highly anticipated tour of Clyde River’s Burnside Community facility. The visit was hosted by facility owner and manager Alan MacPhee. Needless to say, he is pleased with what has been achieved in bringing his dream to life in the community where he grew up and right across from the school he attended as a child. Giving back to one’s community is such a vital part of making your community a better one, and each of us can realize that in our own way by applying our own skills and talents. We carry on the legacy of generations of residents along with community history and stories.

We are delighted to see what Alan is contributing here. At one time, elders would stay on in the farm house and assist in family chores as much as they could. But farming is declining, families travel to other communities to work and many elders in rural communities like their independence for as long as they can enjoy it. However, along the way, they need some assistance. These community care facilities allow seniors to get the exact help they need, whether it is a few meals a week while they prepare a few of their own or all their meals. Common rooms offer social activities and fellowship. Otherwise, seniors can enjoy the comfort of their rooms decorated with family photos, art and memorabilia.

To find this type of accommodations, many seniors have had to leave their communities and start over in the city or village close by. But Alan says that the reason that people are looking at Burnside Community Care is they see it as “near home.” He is attracting interest from folks from Clyde River and surrounding communities. Families like having their parent or parents close by to drop in for a visit.

I remember when my mother was in a senior residence in Charlottetown. Although she was satisfied with how well she was looked after, she would often mention that she missed having other residents that could speak to her about the news from out her way. It is important to be able to talk to people who know your people. It creates a deep bond and understanding and there is no need to explain subtleties.

There are a few seniors living in the facility currently, and Alan plans to gradually accept more residents with a plan to fill one of the two wings by Christmas. When the first floor is fully filled, it will accommodate 38 people. He wants to ensure things are running smoothly as he ramps up the facility’s operations while gathering feedback from his early residents.

Carl and Estelle Petersen from Cornwall were his first residents. Alan says he plans to feature their photo in the foyer as they are now part of the building’s history. They look very content surrounded by their photos. They were good friends of my Aunt Rita and Uncle Jim Beer, so they invited me to sit down for a visit. Carl is happy now that he has cable TV and, while I was visiting, he and his wife were settling in to watch the Nova Scotia election results.

Mrs. Hutchinson in the next room was set for the evening with her laptop computer. I bookmarked the Clyde River website for her to check later. Her first question when she arrived at Burnside was to ask Alan if he had wifi (wireless internet access). On her walls are beautiful landscapes that she painted. Many in the community would know her son Andy Hutchinson.

In the corner room, Mrs. Mira Scott has a perfect view of both churches and the community centre, and her chair is situated to see both at once. It reminded me of something my father said once, that is important to respect all religions, because one never knows who’s going to be right.

I enjoyed a little supper while I was there. Thelma Gillespie is the cook, and the sandwiches and soup along with the dessert and cookies were very tasty. The rest of the staff that I met were friendly and good-humoured which will make for a homey culture.

Alan’s wife Myrtle has taken on the position of Director of Care. She is a well-experienced mental health nurse and has taken advanced training to understand more about the aging process. Myrtle and Alan certainly make for welcoming hosts as I toured around Burnside. They each have a strong passion and commitment for making this new community care facility the best that it can be, and they want to integrate ideas from its residents. On the deck with its southern exposure, Alan is planning to grow some fresh vegetables next year within the built-in planters. He said that many of the country folks were accustomed to having their own gardens, so he wants them to enjoy that once again.

We will plan to offer a regular report from Burnside Community Care on our website, and Alan hopes to host some community groups along the way. If any group would like to have one of their meetings at Burnside, please contact Alan and I am sure he will arrange it. He wants to make sure the residents have the opportunity to be connected to our great community.

“Burnside” Community Care shares its name with the nearby Presbyterian church which means in Gaelic, “beside the river” but it’s also “near home” and that’s the best of both worlds.

If anyone would like more information on Burnside Community Care, please email Alan at, call Burnside Community Care at 675-2393 or contact Alan on his cell phone at 394-1241.

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  1. Gerald Sarcen on October 14, 2013 at 2:51 pm

    SO glad to hear its up and running!!!. Iwas so priveleged to minister at another Burnside facility Burnside Presbyterian church.. From 1970 to 1975. (Wish i had stayed longer. My only real regret in 40 mplus years of ministry.!!! Hope to visit the folks next summer…Lord willing!!!

  2. Barb Perry on October 15, 2013 at 8:43 am

    Looking at the pictures and reading about your beautiful facility was wonderful. The only thing better would be seeing it first hand. Is there an open house in the future?

  3. Lois on October 15, 2013 at 11:37 am

    Toured Burnside Community Facility today with Carl & Stella Peterson – beautiful large rooms, nice décor and scenic view – what a lovely place. Lois

  4. Rosemary Sanderson on October 15, 2013 at 10:35 pm

    Congratulations Alan & Myrtle, it looks beautiful! All the best of success to you.

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