Tabusintac Nursing Home reunites 4 couples in their twilight years

The small, 30-bed nursing home in Tabusintac has a reputation in the community for being a home rather than an institution, especially when it comes to keeping longtime couples together in their twilight years.

Staff proud to care for local residents in nursing home with family atmosphere

Four couples now live together in the Tabusintac Nursing Home. Staff say keeping families close is beneficial for the health of elderly persons. L-R: Marven and Helen Harding, Jean and Boucher Palmer, Dougie and Jackie Price with grandchildren Nick and Josh Hamann and Florence and Edgar Robichaud. (Bridget Yard/CBC)

The small, 30-bed nursing home in Tabusintac has a reputation in the community for being a home rather than an institution, especially when it comes to keeping longtime couples together in their twilight years.

"It's quite unique. Many times in nursing homes there is a spouse who is living alone or with family or outside the nursing home," said Gayle Churchill, the home's administrator.

"It offers quite an opportunity for these couples to keep connected and be able to reach out and know each one of them is safe."

Helen Harding moved into the nursing home in January to be with her husband, 99-year-old Marven Harding, a Second World War veteran.

"We're enjoying it. We're well-treated. It's a nice place to be," said Helen.

"Valentine's Day is good. Lots of valentines around."

L-R: Jean, Laurie, and Boucher Palmer. The Palmers have been married 64 years, according to their son
Boucher and Jean Palmer are another pair of valentines happy to be able to spend time with each other, despite having to stay in separate rooms.

Jean Palmer is especially pleased with the sense of community of the home.

"Good friends. We've met a lot of friends," she said.

Married 58 years 

Edgar and Florence Robichaud have been married 58 years and were also recently reunited to live under the same roof at the Tabusintac Nursing Home.

"I cannot take care of him as I would like to, because I'm blind," said Florence. "But I'm real glad to be with him."

Staff at the facility say keeping couples together in the home is beneficial for their health and happiness. 

Florence swears her husband, Edgar, perks up as soon as she walks in the room.

Visitors are also glad to join in the family atmosphere. Muriel Price moved home from Barrie, Ontario after 31 years away to be close to her parents, Dougie and Jackie Price in Tabusintac.

"It's a better life for everybody," said her husband, Paul Hamann.

"They're good examples," he said of in-laws.

The Hamann children visit their grandparents every day at the nursing home.
Administrator, Gayle Churchill, says the Tabusintac home's approach is unique among New Brunswick nursing homes (CBC)

Staff at the Tabusintac Nursing Home are proud to house and take care of so many matriarchs and patriarchs from the area.

"There are so many family connections here," said Churchill. "It makes it one big family."

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