Stettler’s Carol Dyck is one of those people who literally bubbles over with energy, enthusiasm and an undeniable commitment to helping others.
Dyck, who is the general manager of Stettler Points West, has decided to call it a career by recently announcing her retirement effective this September.
“I grew up in Stettler – this is my home,” she explained during a recent chat. As a young woman, she relocated to Calgary to further her studies at Mount Royal College.
She and her husband Mel – who hails from the Nevis area – did live in Calgary for a time but later chose to settle in Red Deer.
“My background has mainly been in business administration,” she said. “And human resources is where I ultimately ended up – so I worked for the Red Deer hospital and then for the City of Red Deer in human resources – so that is my background,” she said.
But after some 30 years in the city working and raising a family, it was time to head back home to Stettler where in time she landed her post at Stettler Points West – thanks to her extensive experience in management, business and human resources, not to mention her passion for seniors and their overall well-being.
From day one, her enthusiasm for her day-to-day work hasn’t dimmed in the slightest.
“One of the things is that I grew up in this community,” she said.
“I love the residents who live here – many are the people who I knew growing up, such as those who were my mom’s friends or family friends. So I can help look after them like I did with my own mom, who has passed. That has always made me feel really good.”
On those days when she may feel a bit burdened with things, all she has to do is head down the hallway for a chat with the wonderful residents – and her sense of inspiration is promptly restored.
Another key highlight during her time at Points West was seeing the establishment of a hospice suite onsite in partnership with the Stettler Hospice Society.
“I’m very proud of that, and I’m also very proud of the team that we have built here,” she added of her staff at large. “We have a strong team – we get lots of good comments from family and friends. There are of course always challenges – we aren’t perfect and we never will be,” she added with a smile. “But as long as we can make the people’s lives good, that is my goal,” she said.
Of course, a key management challenge of late has been the COVID-19 pandemic.
It was all about looking after the needs and concerns of 108 residents – no easy feat.
“I had to make sure they were as safe as I could possibly make them. We were doing everything we could to make sure they were perfectly safe,” she said. But the hardships were all too real – there were some cases over the course of the pandemic, plus it was painful to have to cancel programming and of course keep much of the world outside during those critical months.
“It was very, very hard on them,” she said. “I think that as an organization, as a country and throughout the world, we have all learned some valuable lessons about what to do and what not to do next time,” she said, adding that in total, there were two outbreaks at Points West.
“They didn’t spread, but we still had them and we still had to face them,” she said. “It was hard on the staff and the residents themselves – but we got through it.”
Ultimately, Carol’s love for seniors in general shines through at every turn. “They are so rich – they have so much valuable information and they all have their own unique personalities,” she said.
“It’s all about the residents, and I say that to my staff all of the time.”
Part of her mission is fueled by her own commitment to living her best life.
“We all don’t know how long we are going to live – but as long as I do live, I’m going to make it the best life I possibly can. I try to get the residents to see that as well. Let’s make it positive,” she said. “What is one good thing I can do now to help you feel happier? We will try to do that.
“I will do whatever I can to help make things better.”
As to her decision to retire, Carol said part of it was about the exciting chance to spend more time with her family, particularly her husband who retired last September.
“What is better than that? To have a man who loves you and wants you to be at home with him,” she added with a smile. “And I’ve got my kids and grandkids who aren’t very far away as well.
“Could I have stayed another year? I could have – but it’s time to be at home with my family.
“It’s time to let someone else take over the reins.”
In the meantime, Carol continues to be absolutely committed to the top-notch care of the Points West residents.
It’s fantastic to see the relative end of the pandemic, and to see the comfort of routine returning to the facility, she noted. That includes hosting all kinds of musical guests, plus the bolstered visitations of family and friends.
One gets the impression that Carol has treasured her time here, and her sense of ‘community’ is stronger than ever.
“My advice for anybody is to love the work that you do. Find something that invigorates you, and you never really will have to feel like you are working.”