Almonte Country Haven has been a ‘homecoming’ for administrator

Garden Terrace administrator Carolyn Della Foresta hugging one of her buddies at the long-term care home.

Carolyn Della Foresta is seen here hugging a Garden Terrace resident. Della Foresta recently became administrator at Almonte Country Haven.

Carolyn Della Foresta returns to where her LTC career began

Carolyn Della Foresta has had ties to Almonte Country Haven since the Lanark County long-term care home opened its doors in the early 1980s.

Her mother worked there. Her grandmother and a great-aunt were residents at one time. And it was at Almonte Country Haven where Della Foresta, the home’s new administrator, got her start in her long-term care career.

She was a 16-year-old high school student when she began working at Almonte Country Haven as a nurses’ aide in 1991. At the time, the position only required on-the-job training.

“I worked here for 10 years, from 1991 to 2001, so, for me, it is a homecoming,” Della Foresta says of her return to the home. “I am very familiar with the home; I can literally say I grew up here.”

Almonte Country Haven was built when Della Foresta, who formerly served as administrator at Garden Terrace, was six years old. She recalls doing wheelchair races in the hallways when visiting her mother at work back in the 1980s. It was a very different resident population, she notes.

“I can remember one gentleman had a part-time job and he would go out in his truck to work every day,” Della Foresta says, adding there are many more people with complex-care issues among today’s long-term care residents.

Della Foresta, who is filling the position left after former administrator Marilyn Colton retired in late 2015, says she’s pleased to return to the home to find that some of the people she worked with 25 years ago are still there.

“The great care that they were providing then, they are still providing now, and it’s a beautiful thing to see,” she says.

Just after Della Foresta began her new position, someone gave her a greeting card which simply read: “Welcome home.” It is an apt statement, she says.

“I’ve come back here and it just happens to be my 25th anniversary with OMNI, and I’m back where I started to celebrate that, so I feel very fortunate,” she says.

– More to come

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