3 March 2023
In recognition and celebration of our 60th anniversary, Silvera interviewed a variety of individuals to learn more about the remarkable people who make up and contribute to our organization – employees, residents, board members, donors, volunteers, and more. These individuals are true “Silvera Diamonds” – as strong and resilient as our organization over the past six decades. Thank you to each of you who help to make us what we are. Here’s to another 60 years!
For nearly four and a half decades, Lois Dougan has headed to a Silvera community to prepare or serve meals to residents. Save for a brief stint at as a housekeeper in the late 1970s, when her aunt, a former Silvera employee, suggested she get a job there too, Lois has worked faithfully in Dining Services for 44 years.
She was a cook for more than 35 years before her knees prevented her from carrying heavy things and managing the daily demands of a kitchen. She became a Dining Attendant nearly a decade ago.
While many things look markedly different since she began at Silvera (then MCF) in April 1978, Lois’ favourite part of any of her roles has always been the people who choose to live in our communities.
“I really love the residents. Being a DA means you get to see them daily and know them well. When I was a cook, I didn’t get to chat with them as much, so this is a nice change,” she says.
“They always make me laugh! One of them always ends up saying something to make my day.”
Conversely, the hardest part of her job is when residents move, leave for higher levels of care, or pass away. “It is always hard to say goodbye. When you see someone every day you really get to know them personally, so it’s very difficult when they go.”
Lois began as a cook at Valleyview, spent a few years each at Bow Valley Commons and Aspen, and returned to Valleyview. She recently spent her last day at the community, which is now closed, after serving there for nearly 37 years.
“We have been one big family at Valleyview,” she says. “Many of the staff have been there for years. You get to know people pretty darn good after working with them so closely for so long. It’s bittersweet to leave.”
Lois, who is Silvera’s current longest-serving employee, is now continuing her work as a Dining Attendant at Gilchrist Commons, which is only a five-minute walk from her home. “So long as I’m healthy, I plan to keep working for at least another five years,” she says.
Achieving a 50-year career anniversary would be a golden moment befitting a real Silvera Diamond. Thank you for your dedicated service, Lois!