Carveth Care Centre volunteer shares Christmas goodwill and kindness, all year long

When Madelene Wood was born, a gallon of gas cost 10 cents and a new car cost $640.

“I don’t tell people my age,” she says mischievously after whispering it softly and then forbidding it to be shared.

Smiling with contentment under a full head of curls, this charming Gananoque woman was born on a farm when the world was reeling from global conflict and domestic hardship.

an elder woman smiles into the cameraThe second eldest of eight children, Madelene reflects happily on her life before starting her shift at Carveth Care Centre where she has volunteered for the past 26 years.

“Mother was in here, that’s what got me started,” she says about her work with residents in the retirement lodge and long-term care home.

A productive housewife and community activist, the friendly woman traveled to the home for years with her husband behind the wheel of the family car.

“My husband drove me here so I could help with bingos,” she says nostalgically, thinking back to his death six years ago. “We had a good marriage. We never fought.”

Despite missing her husband’s companionship and help, Madelene continued to volunteer at Carveth where her sense of humour and laughter are revered.

“I like it here,” she says with a smile. “It’s a happy place. I wouldn’t want to sit at home and do nothing. I couldn’t.”

Dressed in a Santa vest with Christmas bulbs dangling from her ears in early December 2017, Madelene can be seen in the home almost every day.

“I come here for the people. I love them,” she says kindly. “I even knew some of these people before they came here.”

A faithful helper with bingos, birthday parties and special events, Madelene is a beloved member of the Carveth family.

“Madelene is constantly treating our residents and staff to the food she bakes,” notes Shannon Buell, Activity Director. “She is very festive and will dress to any theme or occasion. It’s almost impossible to see her and not smile. She has even crocheted every staff member a Santa pin and Valentine's pin. We absolutely love her. She’s an incredible person who brightens our home with kindness and cheer, all year long.”

Asked about her interests outside of volunteering, Madelene responds with her trademark grin.

“I like to walk,” she says humbly. “I also like to crotchet - it’s my hobby. I love to bake. I also like a glass of wine on the weekends.”

She pauses when asked the secret to her happiness and her future.

“I’m just happy doing what I’m doing,” she explains patiently. “I hope I stay this way. And when it’s time for me to go, I hope I go fast. I don’t want to lay and suffer.”

In photo: Madelene Wood

This story was originally published by Carveth Care Centre. Reposted with permission.