Kaleidoscope Cottage “Who We Are”
We would like to introduce ourselves to you. We are Suki Held and Charlene Hanson, collaborators and corroborators, partners and friends for life. We became advocators for persons with dementia and their families when we worked together on the BSO (Behavioural Supports Ontario) team in LTC. We quickly realized that a service and resource was sorely lacking from the current model of care and we became passionately driven to fulfill it.
With our booming aging population, it is not surprising that there are increasingly more people diagnosed with dementia as well. We believe that the narrative of dementia must change to create a new societal attitude that focuses on all the living yet to do. This is our mission in creating Kaleidoscope Cottage.
Suki’s background is in mental health nursing and business. She has also worked in behavioural support, geriatric research and palliative care. Her extensive skillset includes teaching GPA (Gentle Persuasion Approach). Her amazing life stories would all be best sellers. She has three incredible daughters and several adopted fur babies.
Charlene has her degree in Social Sciences from Western and a few from the school of “Hard Knocks” that she wouldn’t trade for the world. She has spent much of her time studying human behaviour in the mental health field and most recently in geriatrics and dementia with BSO. Charlene has the most supportive partner, two wonderful daughters, and a musically talented son.
Our Kaleidoscope depiction of “Recipe of Me” refers to the combination of characteristics, likes and dislikes, personal traits and morsels of trivia that make each of us unique. These ingredients are paramount and essential to the appreciation of the culmination of all that is personhood…the “recipe”.
We believe that as you are sharing your “recipe” with us, we too would like to share ours with you.
Please check regularly for updates and additions as we grow.
Recipe of “Charlene”
- What I like to be called Char or Charlene
- I can speak the following languages English
- I usually get up at 9 o’clock I usually go to bed at 11 o’clock
- I have more of a reserved nature I have more of an outgoing nature
- I am right handed, left handed or both
- My favourite colour is Definitely black… or blue, or maybe magenta. Tough question!
- These are people who are important to me This one is easier! My 3 kids: Talleah, Calise and Jager, Jim, of course, and a brand new grandson, George! (Thank you Adam and Talleah). Montaha,for always being there. Suki, for whom words cannot describe and the rest of my supportive family.
- Pets I would like to tell you about are Ponyboy, my lab/border collie whom you would never know didn’t go to obedience school… My new “old” foster dog, Bucky, who was made homeless from a fire but now LOVES coming to the Cottage! (Trixie, my beloved Jack Russell, has gone on an extended holiday to Winnipeg)
- Foods I like to eat are Usually all the ones I shouldn’t and I especially love those fresh, warm apple fritters from the Dutch Bakery.
- I absolutely do not like to eat Chili, Lemon Pie, Kale.
- I worked at Dearness Home in London,_as BSO PSW. My work included:Working on a team to practice ways of connecting with persons with dementia to better understand what they need or want when the usual ways of communicating don’t work so well anymore. Often persons with dementia would instinctively use “responsive behaviours” to express these needs. My job also included coaching others to practice successful approaches for better interactions.
- Hobbies or activities I like to do now include Everything related to Kaleidoscope Cottage, Knitting really long scarves because I’m not so sure when to cast off, Walking the dogs, Family celebrations at our summer cottage.
- Things that make me feel uncomfortable are when other people feel embarrassed, or when I do something embarrassing.
- Things that make me happy are funny stories and laughing out loud, people smiling,that feeling you get the day before the day you know something amazing is going to happen. Listening to my son Jager play guitar and sing…He amazes me! Watching George…he changes everyday.
- Three words I would use to describe myself are: Intense (but in a good way), Expressive (kind of in an animated way but not like a cartoon), compassionate (or is it Passionate?…maybe it’s both)
- Others things I’d like you to know about me: I love watching CNN like it’s a reality TV series and I have recently started loving old movies. I like warm seasons more than cold!
Recipe of “Suki”
- What I like to be called. Even though my legal name is Maureen, my mom gave me the nickname “Suki” at birth and little by little, everyone started using it. I’m so used to it, I don’t even think of Maureen as my name.
- I can speak the following languages. Only English fluently but I can “get by” in French, at least enough to communicate.
- The time I usually get up. I’m an early bird….I am usually up between 4 am and 6:30 am. On the rare occasion that I’ve slept past this… I panic because I feel that I’ve slept in! The time I usually go to bed. If I don’t fall asleep on the couch, I’m almost always in bed by 11.
- I tend to have a more reserved nature or I tend to be more outgoing.
- I am right handed ,left handed, both
- My favourite colour is Yellow…it is such a happy colour to me but my all time favourites are old reliables…black and grey.
- These are people who are important to me. My three daughters who I hold nearest and dearest. My brother and his wife and their kids. My sister passed away, but I love her children like they’re my own. My ex-sister in law, who is still like my sister and her family are a great support system. I am blessed with close friends….who feel like family and I love spending time with. And of course Charlene and Jim…who have become my family. My mother and father have both passed away but are still such an important influence in my life.
- Pets I would like to tell you about are. Well, this is a long list! I have three dogs…Enzo Alberto, Fabrizio (Fabby) and Francesa (Frankie). I also have four cats…Mongo Jerry, Sonny, Joe Biden and Atticus. Of course there is also our Kaleidoscope Critters as well who are now a part of my extended family.
- Foods that I like. I love almost all food. My favourite food is nachos…with any kind of toppings. I love pasta as well and I am a huge fan of Indian food. Junk food favourites are potato chips…all flavours, bridge mixture and licorice all-sorts. I don’t keep any of these in my house because it’s just too tempting! I do not eat pork or beef. Other than this, I will eat pretty much anything….oh, except for sardines.
- I work at St. Josephs as a Registered Practical Nurse in Mental health which I have done for over 12 years. I also worked for the City of London in Behavioural Support Services specializing in dementia support. This is where I met my “bestie”, Charlene. My work included. Supporting and caring for those diagnosed with a mental illness, developmental delay, brain injury or dementia (depending on which job we’re talking about).
- Hobbies or activities I like to do now include: I love to read and garden. I also enjoy long walks in the woods with my dogs. I find that road trips anywhere are a fun adventure. I also love music…all genres, depending on my mood. I also admit that I am a CNN addict!
- Things that can make me feel uncomfortable are when others are belittled in front of me. Seeing others hurt emotionally and not being able to help.
- Things that make me happy are spending time with those I love most, rainy mornings when I can stay in my pajamas, a good glass of red wine, animals of all different shapes and sizes, finding the beauty in nature, my own crazy pets, thunder storms…any time of the day or night, the ocean, long drives anywhere, being comfortable with who I am and what I do.
- Three words I would use to describe myself are: Passionate, Hard-working and Devoted
- Other things I’d like to share. I laugh at my own jokes sometimes (my girls tell me I’m really not that funny!) When I’m intently thinking about something , I make faces and nod my head and don’t realize I’m doing it (my daughters also pointed this out to me). I love to dance and sing (not very talented in either department, but that doesn’t stop me)
Recipe of “Pierre”
Our gentle Pierre has left us to embark on his eternal journey. He will always live in our hearts. R.I.P precious Pierre (Jan.3,2018)
Recipe of “Joe DiMaggio and Marilyn Monroe”
- What we like to be called. We like when people say “look at those lovebirds” (even though we’re finches!)…otherwise, we ‘re pretty happy with just “Joe and Marilyn” or “the Songbirds”
- We can speak the following languages. Every kind of bird pretty much, even the “exotics” but we never speak “fowl” language. We also enjoy communicating via our Twitter account…we love “tweeting”.
- The time we usually get up. We’re both early birds The time we usually go to bed Off and on all day… but we sleep the soundest when it’s dark.
- I tend to have a more reserved nature. Joe…Mary is the bossy one! I tend to be more outgoing. Marilyn…everyone says I’m bossy…I think I’m sassy!
- We are right handed, left handed, both wings
- My favourite colour is… Marilyn…I love yellow because it reminds me of the sunshine that streams into our comfy cage in the Green Room, at the Cottage. Joe…I love the green of the trees as well as blue…like the sky.
- Those most important to us. Well, that answer is obvious…We’re crazy about each other!
- Pets I would like to tell you about are We are not an animal lovers, Most try to eat us!
- Foods that we like. We’re vegetarians …and really into seeds.We absolutely do not like to eat. Exotic bird seed…we mean, they’re beautiful to look at and all, but their food is a little too rich for our liking.
- We worked at. Lounge singers. Our work included singing anywhere and everywhere for anyone who’ll listen!
Hobbies or activities we like to do now include. We still love to sing all day…every day. We also work out in our cage and do lots of self care…we’re big preeners.
- Things that can make us feel uncomfortable are when other animals stare into our cage, like we’re lunch. We also don’t like quick movements…they make us nervous.
- Things that make us happy are each other, camping together in our little nest, bright sunny days and we’re crazy about Harry Belafonte…especially his song “Matilda”…we dance like crazy when his record comes on.
- Three words we would use to describe ourselves are: Happy, Animated, Energetic
- Other things we’d like to share. We are excited to be part of the Kaleidoscope Critter Crew and hope we make lots of people happy with our beautiful singing…maybe there will be lots of Cottagers who will sing with us!
Recipe of “Bucky”
- What I like to be called Bucky, Buckster
- I can speak the following languages Various dog dialects and human
- I usually get up at 8 o’clock I usually go to bed at 11 o’clock
- I tend to have more of a reserved nature
- I am both handed I shake both paws equally for treats!
- My favourite colour is Bacon colour
- These are people who are important to me: All the people who love me past and present.
- Pets I would like to tell you about are my new stepbrother Ponyboy , co cottage keeper, Pierre the poodle, Marilyn Monroe and Joe DiMaggio, the finches and some unnamed fish.
- Foods I like to eat are Bacon flavoured treats and chewy Milkbones. I absolutely do not like to eat Chocolate…well , I do like it…I’m not allowed to eat it though.
- I worked at An HSC group home for the last 5 years but it recently burnt down in a house fire. My work included Companionship and cuddling for residents that lived there. Entertainment and love.
- Hobbies or activities I like to do now include Wrestling with Ponyboy, dog parks, walks and hanging out at Kaleidoscope Cottage.
- Things that make me feel uncomfortable are Being left alone
- Things that make me happy are Being petted and scratched behind my ears, people around me, music, treats, walks.
- Three words I would use to describe myself are: Adorable, Quiet, Resilient
- Others things I’d like you to know about me No matter where I live and what circumstances I find myself in I always make the most of it. I bring joy wherever I go. I really miss Penny the most and Soumaly and the gang from the Gatehouse but I can’t complain about my new life. Getting spoiled with love at Kaleidoscope Cottage.