Caring Every Day

Susan MacLeod
Saint Vincent's Nursing Home, Halifax

Except from closing remarks at Saint Vincent’s Nursing Home Annual General Meeting by outgoing board member, Susan MacLeod.

Caring, as you well know, is tough work. It’s tough physical work, it’s hard emotional work, and the decisions we face in this over-wrought system are constrained by many, many factors beyond our control.

Caring is under-appreciated and under-paid work.

Yet people arrive here at Saint Vincent’s every day and get on with it, often with a smile on their face, or at least a gritty determination not to be overwhelmed in the face of it all. To make the best of it.

When I am on the floors at Saint Vincent’s I see care workers smiling with residents, asking them concerned questions and even joking, dancing and singing with them, just for fun.

To me, there seems to be a whole different atmosphere in this small but mighty institution, and the difference is an openness to compassion.

As a board member, this is what has brought me the most joy here and the most meaning. To see compassion as an enduring thread that permeates all of Saint Vincent’s is a profound experience. There are moments, of course, and problems, but the overarching culture here is one that seems defined by compassion for residents and for each other.

Susan MacLeod is a former Saint Vincent’s Nursing Home Board Member and our current Artist-in-Residence. You can find her work at or