First come first served

By Geoff Lee

July 20, 2017 9:41 AM

Masardy Wiltermuth, 88, centre, was feted for being the first resident to move into the new Pioneer House continuing care facility on July 6. Staff served the lucky lady brownies and cupcakes, while her daughters, from left, Jeannette, Deanna and Dennise hammed it up with party favours. Geoff Lee

I’m number one.
That’s what 88-year-old Masardy Wiltermuth can claim for being the first senior to move into the new Pioneer House continuing care facility.
The milestone event on July 6 deserved a celebration with three of Wiltermuth’s four daughters and facility staff on hand for a welcoming party, with a table of goodies to eat and drink.
The plan is to accommodate two seniors a day in the 44-bed Level 4D care home, with the second resident being Margaret Johnstone, who arrived later that day from Islay.
Wiltermuth marked her moment in the facility’s history by holding a Number One ornament to stick into a cupcake.
“It feels pretty good,” she said about being the first resident.
The party was held less than an hour after Wiltermuth entered her room for the first time, and eased into her favourite chair.
“I had never seen it until half an hour ago, beautiful,” she said.
“It will take awhile to get used to; it’s so big and roomy.”
Her daughters Dennise Friday, Jeannette Leer and Deanna Sharp, who live in Lloyd and Yvonne Pike from Waseca, moved their mom’s belongings from the older adjacent Pioneer Lodge wing the day before.
Wiltermuth had been a resident of the Lodge since December 2011, but needed a higher level of care after being hospitalized for a fall that broke her pelvis and wrist.
Her daughters toured the facility last month during a public viewing,  and were excited to hear their mom will get the extra care she needs now in a room with a view.
“She’s got way more room and a bigger bathroom,” said Friday, compared to the smaller rooms at Pioneer Lodge.
“Awesome, very, very nice, no complaints, it’s beautiful,” chimed in Leer.
Wiltermuth is a widow who will get plenty of visits from her daughters and their families.
“It’s so nice having mom close,” said Leer.
Wiltermuth’s arrival was just as exciting for facility staff who have been waiting for a month for residents as site construction wound down.
“In the meantime, we’ve done advanced education in dementia care, and advanced education for the continuing-care standard we are held to as care providers,” said Angela Koch, wellness manager.
The continuing care facility focuses on health promotion, independence, and helping seniors maintain their functional abilities.
The decision to move just two people a day into the facility is part of a orientation plan to allow elderly residents to adjust to their surroundings.
“Our care partners are so well trained,” said Koch.
“They’re prepared to work with the residents to make it a very personal approach, and really work with that person one at a time to make sure they feel safe, and how to call for help if they get confused.”
Koch said they expect the residence to be full by the end of August.
In the meantime, the Lloydminster Region Health Foundation is continuing to fundraise for the final $700,000 of a $2 million goal. 
The final provincial grant is contingent on Lloydminster raising $2-million dollars to fully fund the $16-million cost of the facility.

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