Dorcas Woermke – A Grove Story

Aug. 5, 2018

Dorcas Woermke, a long-time resident of Arnprior, spent the last 11 years of her life as a resident of The Grove Nursing Home. Her story reflects the pivotal role that a nursing home, such as The Grove, plays in the life of a community.   

Like so many residents of our town, Dorcas enjoyed the company of close friends, church fellowship and beloved family members. Together she and her husband, Irvin, raised a family; contributed significantly to their community; and took great pride in welcoming family and friends to our town.

Her life, and that of her family, changed dramatically in 1979, when at the age of 52, Dorcas was diagnosed of Multiple Sclerosis. The disease developed quickly into a severe physical disability thus putting her into a wheelchair for 20 years. During this time, she was dutifully and lovingly cared for by her husband, Irvin. A van was purchased and repurposed to accommodate her wheelchair, affording her an opportunity to continue to attend community events and family gatherings. Despite every effort to modify their home, it became absolutely necessary, given her increasing disability and medical needs, for the family to agree to her relocation to a nursing home in January 2005.

Unfortunately our Grove Nursing Home, whose construction Irvin Woermke had carefully overseen as a member of the Arnprior & District Memorial Hospital Board, was full and therefore unable to accommodate Dorcas. Given the urgency of the situation, her family were forced to relocate Dorcas to Renfrew, away from family and friends.

As luck would have it, a room became available at The Grove Nursing Home on the eve of her moving to Renfrew so she was able to stay in Arnprior after all.

From January 2005 to her passing in 2016, she resided at The Grove and was therefore able celebrate most every family birthday, anniversary, Christmas and Thanksgiving with family. Indeed, The Grove proved, over time, to be a comforting and engaging residence for Dorcas. Regular family dinners and a variety of musical events, chapel, games and visits from community groups organized by the Grove added greatly to her quality of life.

With Dorcas in Arnprior Irvin was able to visit daily while their daughter, Valerie Wereley, helped organize family events and saw to the seasonal decoration of Dorcas’ room. Friends often stopped by with news and stories that filled Dorcas’ days with joy and a sense of belonging.

The key to this story, is rooted in the fact that The Grove was indeed available to her, and to this day remains available to others in our community. But sadly The Grove Nursing Home is too small a facility to accommodate our growing population of seniors.

Without a new Grove, the backlog of residents on the waiting list and those wanting to remain in the community cannot be addressed.
Without a new Grove, families would be faced with the challenge of travelling out of town to visit and advocate for a parent, spouse or loved one.

Without a new Grove you yourself might one day be forced to seek a nursing home far from home, without the regular loving support of family and friends.

Indeed many of us will need a new Grove to assist in life’s transitions and to ensure a quality of life that is dignified and respectful of our contributions to our community.

The Arnprior Regional Health Foundation, which raises funds for the Arnprior & District Memorial Hospital and The Grove Nursing Home, is committed to raising $4 million to build the “new” Grove and $1 million for new medical equipment. The new building will accommodate 96 residents and construction is expected to start later this year.

Please remember Dorcas Woermke’s story and that of the many others who have benefitted from the location and care provided by The Grove Nursing Home over the last 37 years.

When asked, please give generously to this uniquely beneficial fundraising endeavor.

Submitted by Richard Wereley
Son-in-law of the late Irvin and Dorcas Woermke