“No one really does want to come into long-term care,” he said. “They don't want to leave their home.”
But Lowe, now the president of Pioneer Manor's residents' council, said he fell in love with the facility within hours of arriving in the fall of 2010.
Not only is the city-run long-term care facility physically geared to the needs of those with disabilities, the staff are first-rate, Lowe said.
“They really do care for the residents here,” he said. “It makes all the difference in the world. They go that extra mile, always.”
Lowe thanked city council — who had pondered privatizing Pioneer Manor a couple of years ago — for their continued support of the facility.
“I know it always hasn't been easy, and it hasn't been cheap, God knows, but it's made all the difference in the world,” he said.
Lowe made the remarks at the 60th anniversary of Pioneer Manor Dec. 4. Residents, families, staff members and dignitaries gathered at the facility for a celebration.
Pioneer Manor first opened as the Sudbury District Home for the Aged in March 1953. Constructed at a cost of approximately $1.3 million, the original building housed close to 125 beds and was 60,000 square feet.
Today, 433 residents live in the facility, which is more than 271,000 square feet, making Pioneer Manor the largest long-term care residence in Northern Ontario.
Pioneer Manor has undergone significant renovations in recent years. After a fire destroyed part of the facility in 2006, a new $14.6 million, 64-bed wing designed to cater to the needs of dementia patients opened in 2010.
Pioneer Manor is a place which holds a lot of memories for Ward 5 Coun. Ron Dupuis. Not only have his parents, Joffre and Diane Dupuis, lived there for the past nine years, three of his grandparents lived there as well.
Back in the 1950s, his mother also used to work in housekeeping and in the kitchen at the facility.
Dupuis said his parents have received “excellent” care at Pioneer Manor. He said he opposes the idea of privatizing the facility.
“Today we are celebrating the 60th anniversary, and I want to be around for the 75th,” he said.
“I may be a resident, but I will be around. Because of the waiting list, I've already put my name in. Everybody wants to come to Pioneer Manor, and there's a reason for that. It's the outstanding people we have here.”
Diane Dupuis, 87, said she and her 88-year-old husband, who live in the same room at Pioneer Manor, really like it there. “The nurses, the staff, everybody is really nice,” she said.
Mayor Marianne Matichuk, who, coincidentally used to be a manager at Pioneer Manor, presented the facility with a congratulatory certificate for reaching its 60th anniversary.
“How we care for our seniors is an indicator of our overall quality of life in our city,” she said.
“By that measure, it's clear here at Pioneer Manor our city is doing extremely well. I'm looking forward to 60 more years of dedicated, quality service to older adults.”
Pioneer Manor director Tony Parmar said the 60th anniversary is a great milestone for the facility. “There's been many changes over the past 60 years and there will probably be many changes in the next 60 years as well,” he said.