Nursing home residents find 'comfort' with picturesque doors from their past

A P.E.I. nursing home hopes new personalized doors will bring back happy memories for its residents and improve their quality of life.

Garden Home looking for sponsors to help offset cost of decorating doors

Mary Gauthier, 92, says she used to be an avid gardener, and her new door will bring back fond memories. (Laura Meader/CBC)

A P.E.I. nursing home hopes new personalized doors will bring back happy memories for its residents and improve their quality of life.

The Garden Home in Charlottetown plans to decorate as many room doors as possible with a large decal that covers the entire door.

The images relate back to the resident's past, and could include anything from a water view, flowers or a favourite view. 

"It gives you comfort," said 92 year-old resident Mary Gauthier, who helped design the door that will soon be going up in her room. 

Mary Gauthier's door also has an image of her pet dog Sandy. (Kwik Kopy Printing)

"It's a beautiful door."

Gauthier said she used to be an avid gardener and is excited to have a door adorned with a picture of flowers and grass — as well as her pet dog, Sandy.

It's a door that anyone should love in their home.— Mary Gauthier, 92

"It's a door that anyone should love in their home," she said.

The "true door" concept originated in the Netherlands and has been tried out in other nursing homes in Canada, as well.

"We're very pleased with it ... residents are really enjoying it," said Angela Boudreau, director of activities for the Garden Home. 

Boudreau helps design the doors by talking to the residents and getting ideas. The personalized doors can be a good conversation starter, she said, and also help residents who may be disoriented make their way back to their room more easily.

Residents Arliss Peters and Eric LeClair are both from the Rustico area, and their door shows a view of the Rustico Harbour. (Laura Meader/CBC)

One door features a view of the Rustico Harbour. It's on the room shared by Arliss Peters and Eric LeClair, who are both from the area and can often be heard talking about fishing. 

They say it reminds them of their past, working around the harbour.

"I was there all the time," Peters said. "I loved it."

Peters and LeClair say their door reminds them of the days they spent at Rustico Harbour. (Laura Meader/CBC)

Each door costs about $150 to print and install. The home is covering the cost of the first five doors but after that it plans to seek help to do more. The facility has 82 doors in total in could potentially decorate. 

"We're encouraging individuals, families, organizations and companies to actually sponsor a door," Boudreau said. 

"It's such a worthwhile cause for our residents."