Helen Henderson Care Centre resident gives back to her home by volunteering and helping others

Audrey Tordoff reached maturity when the world needed typewriter mechanics and you could buy a new wedding dress and matching bonnet for under $30.  Helen Henderson resident Audrey poses for the camera

70 years later, the friendly woman reflects on her life from a wheelchair that counteracts her missing leg.

Diagnosed with chronic lymphedema, Audrey works around her limitations.

“I take one day at a time. If today is bad, tomorrow will be better,” she says wisely.

A resident of Helen Henderson Care Centre for two years, Audrey talks freely about her fascinating life.

Born in Kingston in 1927, she graduated from the nursing program at Kingston General Hospital in 1949.

“That’s a long time ago,” she says with a smile.

Petite with long brown hair, Audrey met her future husband at church after he complained her hat obstructed his view. The couple was married a short time later. The year was 1951.

“He was a very handsome man,” Audrey says proudly about her husband Norman, a typewriter mechanic from England who served in WWII. 

A member of the Riley family who have grown and sold vegetables in Kingston for decades, Audrey contributed to the war effort during high school through farm service. Growing food for her countrymen earned her a five-month reprieve from school. 

Audrey smiles at that memory, unaware that she has always helped her community through any means possible.

“I volunteer (in the nursing home) because some of the residents can’t do anything with their hands,” she says softly. “I’m legally blind, but I can still use my hands.”

Widowed with two grown children, Audrey appreciates the care she receives from a team of professionals dedicated to providing her with the best health care in the world.

“It’s great here,” she says outside her room with a grateful sigh. “There is lots of entertainment and activities.”

Stepping inside her room, guests see a lifetime of keepsakes from nursing, family and hobbies.

A nursing cap is attached to the frame of a black & white graduation picture from nursing school. The photographer captures Audrey looking beautiful and happy.

Deeper inside her room, handmade teddy bears and artwork fill the corners and create a sense of patience and talent.

Eager to live life to the fullest, Audrey lists her favourite retirement activities as high tea, baking, Diners Club and reading.

“We have gorgeous gardens here in the summer,” she says.

Pleased with the beauty of the day and happy from recalling a life well-lived, Audrey notes with a laugh, “If people say they’re bored (here), I say it’s their fault. There’s lots to do.”

Editor’s Note: Sadly, Audrey passed away in October 2016. She is remembered by her family and friends at HHCC for her uplifting spirit and can-do attitude. According to her family, Audrey loved trying new experiences at her home, meeting new friends and filling her time with fun activities, including volunteering around the home. Her family is grateful to the staff at HCCC for the love and support they showed Audrey, and grateful to have had such a wonderful woman in their lives.