“It’s really a blessing to have Yvette and her staff in my mother’s life, and any family needing support with a family member in a Nursing Home would definitely benefit.”
Roger, A Comforting Companions Client Halifax, Nova Scotia
Our companions love what they do!
"I love that the bonds made between companions and clients are genuine"
"I love that this is more than just a job, it is a real friendship developed between companions and clients"
"I love seeing the smile on a client's face when I come for a visit"
"I love that Comforting Companions offers a valuable service that is often overlooked in traditional care settings"
"I love knowing I have helped brighten a client's day, if only in that small moment"
"I love knowing I provide important updates to family members regarding their loved one and am able to help them stay proactive in the care of their loved one"
"I love that companions have the flexibility to tailor their visits to the interests and needs of the client they are visiting and to also bring their own personality into the visits"
"I love that we are able to provide peace of mind to the family members of the loved ones we visit"
"Being the friend that a previously lonely gentleman can now look forward to seeing each week."
"I love that we are there for other people. That we are able to bring peace to families because they can rest assured their loved one has someone with them caring for them, when they are unable to be there. We get to build beautiful relationships that you cannot not get with any other job."
"Meeting some of the loveliest and most interesting people"
"I love walking in to see my client and being told "that any day I visit makes his day a great day"."
"I love knowing that within my visit time I can have a client, who is down in the dumps, lonely, confused when I arrive, then laughing and settled by the time I leave."
"I love being able to make a difference. I love that we can help people, and mean so much to someone and do little things to just make them feel like they have choice and independence to some level in their lives. They have lost so much along their journey they are entitled to whatever choice and independence and companionship they can have through their remaining years."
The Story Behind Comforting Companions
For owner Yvette Gagnon, Comforting Companions is a labor of love. When her brother moved into long-term care through an unexpected and progressive illness, Yvette experienced and saw first-hand, the deep emotional impact it had on families and their loved ones. She witnessed other families working tirelessly to make sure their loved ones weren’t just receiving care, but continuing to live lives rich with friendship, activity, and love as illness progressed. It was through this observation and a deep understanding of families having so many other responsibilities that had her searching for someone to visit her own brother to help offset family visits. Caring deeply for those living with progressive illness and their families who love them, Yvette used her insights and passion to create Comforting Companions, and today she and her team of kind, caring companions continue to enrich the lives of those they visit and provide peace of mind to the families who love them.
Yvette is also a Certified Dementia Practitioner, through Positive Approach to Care with Teepa Snow, one of the worlds leading educators in dementia and the care that accompanies it. Today, Yvette offers her services to help families, care facilities and communities gain better understanding of what its like to live with progressive brain change like Alzheimer’s disease and other dementias. She believes that its up to each of us to change the face of dementia care by truly seeing it from the other side. She and her staff work tirelessly to ensure that they are constantly making a positive difference in the lives of those living with progressive illnesses and for the people who care for them.
Yvette is available for community and group presentations to help understand what dementia is and isn’t, along with communication tools and skills to help care for those living with Alzheimer’s disease and other dementias. She continues her studies to ensure she has a wide range of knowledge on the issues and challenges that we all face when someone we care about is living with dementia.
Our companions are genuinely kind, compassionate people wanting to make a positive difference to help, to ensure that those they visit, have a better day because they cared. All companions are carefully selected and only the kindest, most caring are chosen. They undergo extensive training and are fully skilled in Teepa Snow’s Positive Approach to Care dementia training, as well as undergoing Canada-wide Criminal/Vulnerable Background checks and have current First Aid and CPR certificates. We have full confidence in their ability to connect in a caring way with your loved one.
Christina has a strong understanding of the emotional toll of illness on family. She looked after both of her parents in their later years and saw how love, kindness and deep respect enhanced their lives. She also found it emotionally rewarding, which inspired her to join Comforting Companions and help others facing similar challenges. Now, Christina is providing that same level of care to families and their loved ones each day with compassionate, personalized support and a gentle presence.
“I saw the difference I could make in my parents’ lives just by being there for them. Knowing that I can help ease the loneliness of someone in a nursing home, and give some peace of mind to family members who cannot be there every day, that means the world to me.”
Holly has always found a way to brighten the day for people living in care and knows the challenges personally from seeing the emotional impact on her own family. As a former Recreational Programmer in long-term care, she planned activities to ensure everyone could get involved and experience a sense of belonging and happiness. A change in career made her realize just how much she valued the deep connections and fulfilling feeling of helping others, so she returned to her passion by joining Comforting Companions. Holly has a generous, giving heart and dedication to compassionate care that continues to make a difference in the lives of those she sees.
“There’s a feeling of pure joy you get when you see a smile on the face of someone you visit. Knowing that you are bringing them happiness, there’s really nothing like it, and it’s one of many reasons why I love what I do.”
Michele has always had a profound empathy for and understanding of age and illness, and all the challenges that come with it. But it is her unique ability to listen, calm, care for and connect with others that makes her an invaluable member of the Comforting Companions team. Part of that comes from her background as an artist, but it also comes from her passion to continually enhance the support she provides. Michele has completed the provincially recognized Alzheimer Disease and Other Dementias Care Course to help ensure her support is as individualized as those she sees.
“I became a Companion to give my time to people who need someone to be there. Everyone wants someone who will listen to them, and when I hear their wisdom, their stories, they motivate me to provide the best care possible.”
One of Risa’s greatest treasures over a 30 year career in health and wellness has been the genuine heartfelt connections she has made. Attentive, kind and sensitive she understands that meeting the challenges and changes that accompany aging or illness require courage, creativity and heart. She has devoted many years to designing meaningful and enriching programs for people with varying abilities and those living with dementia. This allows her to continue to bring inspiration to those she sees and meet people where they are on their journey. Whether it’s offering creative, personalized activities or simply a quiet presence, her warm and welcoming nature brightens the days of those she sees. Supporting and offering her understanding to those in care and their families continues to fill her with rich rewards knowing that she makes a difference in the lives of others.
“Each person deserves to be valued and to be truly seen, especially at a time of life where they are facing incredible challenges. As a companion, I enjoy sharing my time with those I visit in ways that honour and appreciate where they are, day by day.”
Nola’s deep value for and love of family genuinely shines throughout each personal visit she makes with people she cares for, knowing they are someone’s loved one. Her own experience arranging care for parents who do not live locally has helped her understand the quality of care and attention families seek for their own loved ones. It is what inspired her to become part of the Comforting Companions family. Devoted, warm and kind-hearted, Nola sees clearly how regular visits from someone who wants to help, truly makes a difference in the lives of those she sees and for their families. She appreciates the peace of mind and heart families feel when someone they trust shares in caring for their loved one. Nola continues to educate herself on Alzheimer’s disease and other Dementias to support her in meeting the changing needs of those she visits.
“Living so far away from my own family, I know what a relief it is to have someone who cares visit my own family members regularly. As a companion, I love providing a sense of comfort and security for families by ensuring their loved one is well and happy when I visit.”
Growing up, Amy feels fortunate to have had her grandmother living with her family for twenty years. This has helped her appreciate the natural changes that take place when ‘family caregivers’ become those in need of the attentive and loving care of family. Amy’s perspective on care and aging has been profoundly influenced by the special relationship she witnessed between her mother and grandmother: a model for care through mutual respect and love. Warm and thoughtful, and attentive Amy’s approach honours the whole person, offering clients varied and rich experiences that respect personal choice and preferences. She enjoys discovering her client’s unique interests and sharing genuine, meaningful visits, always meeting her clients where they are, at any given time.
“My grandmother and mother have instilled in me that taking good care of each other and traveling with someone on their life journey, no matter the circumstance, is a privilege. As a Companion, I am grateful to experience clients through the eyes of love and friendship each day.”
As a volunteer in the mental health field, Marcie cherishes the close bonds she develops with clients and their families. When her great-grandmother moved to a full-time care facility because of Dementia, she witnessed her family struggle with the stress of balancing the responsibilities of everyday life with finding time for visits. Marcie understands that having a genuinely caring person share in regular, meaningful visits can help ease some of the worry when families cannot be there. Kind-hearted and considerate, Marcie thoroughly enjoys getting to know her clients and becoming a friend to each of them. As a Companion, she takes pride in providing families with personalized updates after each visit, offering families greater peace of mind and heart that someone who wants to help and provide friendship, has spent time with their loved one.
“I enjoy bringing my positive attitude, warm smile, and genuine heart to each visit. As a Companion, if I can help ease some of the stress for another family, while at the same time developing a meaningful new friendship, I can’t think of any other way I would rather spend my time.”
Linda treasures the time spent with her own mom and her mom’s friends over the years. She remains inspired by their love of life as they have aged and adapted to living with various illnesses. Through these relationships she has come to appreciate that one can age with dignity and grace, that social time is precious, that nothing can replace having a sense of humour, and that friendship is one of life’s greatest gifts. These values, combined with her kind and caring nature and strong desire to support families with loved ones living in care, are what Linda offers through regular visits and her friendship with clients. Linda is pleased to provide families with the feeling of comfort that comes from knowing their loved one has a special friend who is aware of their needs and who will update them on changes she sees that take place in their loved one’s life.
“As a Companion, I am pleased to make a difference in the lives of those I visit. I see it in the smiles when I arrive, and when a client wants to share a special secret, or is eager to know when I will return. I feel it in the warm hugs and in the gentle squeezes of my hand.”
With a Bachelor of Arts in Gerontology and many years of experience in recreation programming, Sara brings her passion and genuine interest in seniors to life through her role with Comforting Companions. She understands that families often have difficulty accepting the changes experienced by loved ones living in long-term care. Compassionate and gracious, Sara meets each client as they are, moment-to-moment and day-to-day; focusing her visits and kind attention on the whole person and their changing needs and interests.
“Seniors are often forgotten in society and to me they are the best part. It is important for everyone to have a source of companionship in life. It is especially beneficial for loved ones living in long-term care where dedicated, personalized attention is challenging for family members and staff. As a Companion, I make the most of my visits with clients, offering them the extra TLC they often need to brighten their days, which makes everyone feel better.”
Find out how to Become A Companion!