A legacy of giving back: A Trochu pioneer helps other lodge residents live their best life

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Margaret Stankievech’s husband, Aaron, was the love of her life.

They met in Yorkshire, Northern England, where they were both stationed during the Second World War.

Margaret was a stenographer in the British Air Force, and Aaron was serving overseas in the Royal Canadian Air Force.

They fell in love, got married and moved back after the war to Aaron’s hometown of Trochu, Alta., where he co-founded a dealership now known as Trochu Motors, a thriving family business.

When Margaret’s husband passed away three years ago, she moved into the seniors’ lodge at St. Mary’s Health Care Centre in Trochu.

“I moved into the lodge a month after my husband died because I knew that was what I needed to do,” says Margaret, 96, who has three adult daughters who live in Calgary. “I’m very well looked after, and it’s good to get the care here.”

A people person, she has also become the social planner for the lodge and has organized activities for residents to enjoy.

She rallied two volunteers who play the piano and accordion to regularly perform for residents over the summer.

Their performances were held outdoors to comply with COVID-19 guidelines, and staff opened the windows of the dining room so the music could be heard indoors.

She also keeps busy with group activities at the lodge, like making cards for long-term care residents living in the same building.

Before becoming a resident, Margaret was involved in providing pastoral care at the lodge for 25 years as a volunteer, a practice she continues to this day co-leading the devotion with the pastor.

Margaret says her memory — which she refers to as the “computer in her head” — is starting to slip, and she uses a walker, but she doesn’t have any underlying chronic conditions.

Recreation therapist Randi Hogg notes that Margaret often goes out of her way to enrich the lives of other lodge residents, which complements her own role as an activity planner.

Margaret says that while the lodge is not the same as the family home she once shared with her husband, she is happy. “I’m quite content here.”


by Karen Cho, Covenant Health

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