True Davidson Acres marks 40th anniversary

Betty Tustin first started her journey with True Davidson Acres when her husband needed care.

“My husband was a resident and when he passed away I knew what the need was,” Tustin said. “The facility needed volunteers here to help better the quality of life for the residents. So I came here as a volunteer.”

Tustin has been president of the volunteer association at True Davidson Acres for 20 years. Now, as the long-term care facility celebrates its 40th anniversary, she and about 125 other volunteers continue to improve the home-comfort environment for its senior residents.

The facility, on Dawes Road overlooking Taylor Creek Park, provides accommodation with services such as nursing, medicine, food and nutrition, administration and staff education.

Carly Wolf, the volunteer coordinator for True Davidson Acres for 10 years, believes the quality provided at the facility is excellent and has been for the past 40 years.

“We provide 24-hour nursing care for our community members who are not able to look after themselves at home and our volunteers provide extra care for our residents,” Wolf said.

True Davidson Acres opened in June 1973, through the efforts of former East York mayor Jean Gertrude (True) Davidson.

In honour of its ruby anniversary, volunteers organized an April 20 “Spring Fling” fundraiser, with two goals: to celebrate the birthday and to try to raise $10,000 for a gazebo with wheelchair-accessible decking. The Spring Fling included a community barbecue, vendor stations, a bake sale and an art sale, among other activities.

“The city gives us the budget for the necessities of life,” Tustin said. “They’re giving (the residents’) needs for physiotherapy, keeping them clean, assisting them and all those health care issues, but we are here to raise funds to give them the extras.”

According to Tustin, when living in a care facility, the extra touches giving the residence a homey atmosphere is as important as the necessities provided by government.

“Imagine if you were in a facility and you couldn’t get out or couldn’t go to any outings and listen to live music and have some birthday cake or a birthday party,” Tustin said. “I mean these are all the extra things to make their life more comfortable.”