Kaye’s Place Provides the Comforts of Home
If you’ve recently taken a stroll down “Main Street” at our Halifax Campus, you’ve likely seen “Kaye’s Place,” or at the very least seen the sign hanging on the wall. “Kaye’s Place”, which opened its doors in the spring of 2018, provides a haven for residents who struggle with the challenges of dementia while providing a homelike setting and special place to reconnect. This new space, which will be used for special programming and scheduled family visits, is named in honour of Katherine (MacDermid) Dickson. Also referred to as “Kaye” by her many friends, she has lived an extraordinary life filled with happy memories of days spent with those she cared about.
Kaye grew up in Cape Dauphin and was the eldest of five children. She headed off to college in Truro where she studied to become a teacher, but she longed for home. Luckily, her first teaching job was close to Cape Dauphin– she taught at a one-room schoolhouse in Ross Ferry. She married a handsome miner named James “Buddy” Dickson in 1955 and moved to New Waterford where she taught at Central School. Buddy and Kaye soon welcomed two little children, Bonnie (Bonnie Salsman) and James (Jim Dickson) who were their pride and joy.
Helping others was at the root of everything Kaye did in her life, which is why it made so much sense when she eventually went back to university to become a special education teacher. Kaye also dedicated many hours of volunteer activities to give back to her community and was an active member of Calvin United Church and a member of the board of the Bairncroft Foundation. Kaye was proud to offer a haven within her classroom and she created a caring and supportive setting for her students, a setting not un-like “Kaye’s Place” at Northwood.
“Kaye’s Place” features all the comforts of home with special little touches like cozy hand-knit blankets, teacups and saucers, and soft lighting that you wouldn’t expect to see in a long-term care setting. The room is outfitted with memory boxes (a tool used in dementia care), robotic cats and dogs, Google Home, and so much more. The space was carefully planned out by Northwood’s Resident Programs and Services department. Sarah Cluett, a Recreation Therapist at Northwood, says she’s witnessed countless successes since the doors of “Kaye’s Place” opened earlier this year. One of those successes was seeing a gentleman who had been described as non-verbal by those who work closely with him sing the words to “Twinkle Twinkle Little Star” during a group program.
Funding for “Kaye’s Place” was made possible through the Northwood Foundation and donations received at the 2017 Live More Awards. Jim Dickson was the recipient of the 2017 Hedley G. Ivany Live More Award and he decided to name “Kaye’s Place” in his mother’s honour. Kaye is a member of the Northwood Community and now calls Northwood home.
Messages & memories from those who know Kaye best
My sister Katherine was an “Educator” in every sense of that word. As a much younger sister, I realized at an early age that she gave of herself, beyond her comfort level, by sharing her time, her talents and her pay cheque to bring others up to their potential.
– Connie MacDermid Rogers
I’ve learned so much from this lady!! Being the 1st special education teacher in the CBVRSB her skills and knowledge about children and the developmental stages are what make her a teacher for and of life. The world is a better place because of her and now so is Northwood. I hope Kaye’s place brings many smiles to the lives of residents and their families.
I must say that Mrs. Dickson was my very favourite teacher and my most memorable memories of school are from grade one with her. She was probably the reason why I liked going to school. My best memory of her is one day we had gone out to play and I fell and cut my knee and ripped my leotards. When I came in I didn’t say anything but being very perceptive she asked me what was wrong. I started to cry and showed her my knee. She was so kind and loving that I have truly have never forgotten that day. She was a hero in my eyes from that day on. An Angel that she gave me hangs on my kitchen wall and every time I look at it I think of her and what an angel she is. Xxxooo
– Leslie Shaw
My Auntie Kaye, one of the greatest influences in my life. Like a second mother, but willing to let me break some rules. Always there for me in sticky situations and times of joy! Even though I disliked cooking and baking she made it feel fun. She taught me how to tie my shoes the left handed way, because nobody else could. Crocheting didn’t make my list of favorites, even though we spent many left handed hours trying! She never failed to support me and pushed me to be the best I could be. Thank you for a lifetime of advice and your unconditional love.
– Bethanne MacVicar