“I have known Grace for many years, both from a professional relationship and a more personal one when we both served on the board of OLTCA in a variety of capacities. Grace’s authorship of her book “Joyful Journey” is just another example of her commitment to driving quality of life improvement for the most vulnerable people in our society, in a team environment.
The book is full of real life experiences in the life of the leader, Grace, as she traces her steps through building a quality and life long career path in serving elders. Her passion for continuous improvement and leadership never waned, despite the challenging environment and difficulties that Grace encountered.
The book demonstrates her staying power and drive, never saying “it can’t be done”. This and all the other lessons that she articulates so well, should be learned by every healthcare worker engaged in the active care of elders.
I have nothing but admiration for Grace’s ability — be it in management, leadership, or advocating to Government for improvements in the lives of elders.
Nothing exemplifies this more than when Grace writes about her last effort at creating better living and quality of life improvements late in her career at Christie Gardens.
Grace you should be teaching these lessons to students studying healthcare as these real life experiences cannot be taught by learning theories.”
Consulting CEO, Natural Care
Former President/CEO Centric Health
Former President Leisureworld
Former President OLTCA
“The jury is still out on what is the best model to use in accommodating frail older adults. Extending beyond thirty years, Grace Sweatman was CEO at Christie Gardens, home to over 400 older adults in Toronto.
Through a series of well-told stories, her Joyful Journey documents that she was the sales person, taking risks, and encouraging people. She nurtured a model vision for her organization, charting new growth, eying the horizon and challenging the status quo. Her long-term thinking saw new opportunities, and created new roads. Year after year she motivated her colleagues, broke rules, fostered ideas, and inspired trust.
Throughout her Joyful Journey, she voted with her heart and did the right thing, not satisfied with just doing things right. Joyful Journey is inspirational and instructive to anyone interested in how communities should respond to the challenges of ensuring quality of life of their frail older adults.”
Larry W. Chambers
PhD, FACE, FFPH (Hon) (UK), FCAHS
Research Director, Michael G. DeGroote School of Medicine,
Niagara Regional Campus
Department of Health Research Methods, Evidence, and Impact
Faculty of Health Sciences
“While teaching an Environmental Design course as part of the Gerontology program at Ryerson in the early 80’s, a bright eager student indicated her interest in someday becoming the director of the best seniors’ residence in Ontario.
It was a great pleasure to read Joyful Journey: An Adventure in Eldercare and all of Grace Sweatman’s stories and her interesting journey as she pursued a successful career and ultimately achieved her early goal.
Best of all my husband and I feel privileged to be residents at Christie Gardens and enjoy all it has to offer – and to have reconnected with Grace.”
“Grace Sweatman sees possibilities where others see problems. She built and sold life lease units, enhanced our Courtyard, led us away from Ministry restrictions, and built neighbourhoods with empowered staff and person-centred care. Reading each of her blogs reminded me of so many experiences during those years and provided background information of the time preceding. I’m excited this important story is now going to reach a wider audience, as it will provide a foundation for the winds of change ahead in eldercare.”
Ann Peachman Stewart
“Christie Gardens is a well-respected industry leader in exceptional elder care. It didn’t get that way on its own. For as long as I have known Grace Sweatman in her roles as leader, administrator, executive director, and CEO, her unwritten personal motto has been to ‘Lead, serve, and change the world of eldercare.’ She might just not have realized it at the time. Thank you for the heart and soul you have given to your work and to those whom you have served.
I was so glad to hear that you had embarked on this project to share your stories and your vision.”
“Many years ago I was fortunate to attend one of the strategic planning meetings that were organized for management and support staff at Christie Gardens … for three days I listened carefully and was amazed by your stories, which always came with a very valuable lesson. Your vision to change the culture in retirement living has had a tremendous impact on my daily thoughts and decisions. I have never forgotten your words: ‘Elders deserve their right to choice, services, and most importantly, their independence’.”
New Horizons Tower
“I sat in the front row mesmerized. At the podium stood Grace Sweatman, CEO of Christie Gardens, former president of the Ontario Long Term Care Association, telling the story of how she came to realize that everything she had worked hard to build for 30 years had to be dismantled and rebuilt from the ground up. She called it her ‘Bold Call to Action.’ It was not enough to provide good care or employ kind and compassionate staff. To truly fulfill its mission, Christie Gardens needed to become a caring community unlike any other.”
Dr. Paula Neves
University Health Network
For many years I’ve been told “you should write a book”, and I took it as a compliment and moved on — but now, I decided you were all right and I’m taking the plunge.
My draft manuscript is now nearly 300 pages in length.
Here’s the cover mockup — what do you think?