“I’m so at home” at Elim Village Fleetwood
This article was featured in the Spring edition of The Elim Connection (page 17), a community publication distributed three times per year to all residents of Elim Village. It is also shared with our email subscribers. The Elim Connection focuses on the stories and lifestyle of those living and aging in place at our two retirement communities.
The Behind the Cover section of The Elim Connection dives into the stories of those featured on the previous edition’s front cover. Christel Dreger was featured on the cover of the December 2022 edition.
“I’m so at home here,” shares Christel Dreger, an Independent Living resident at Elim Village Fleetwood. And home is the perfect word to describe it.
Christel was featured on the cover of the 2022 December edition of The ELIM Connection. The people you don’t see sitting beside her in the photo are two other residents—Eleonore Kirlik and Ursula Truderung, Christel’s sister and sister-in-law. And somewhere else in the village, likely in his cozy suite in the Carmanah, is Gerhard Truderung—Christel’s brother and Ursula’s husband. “My siblings and I were always close,” mentions Christel, “It’s very special to live near each other again.”
The reason for their close bond is due to what the three of them endured together as siblings—War, their father’s passing, losing all their possessions, and fleeing to Canada as teenagers. By no means was their childhood easy, but they had each other for support, guidance, and the best kind of medicine—laughter. They remained close as the years passed, but they also moved away, got married, and settled into their own lives. “Who knew we’d all end up together again,” Christel adds.
In 2014, Christel placed her name on Fleetwood’s waitlist after her sister, Eleonore, moved into a suite in the Kootenay. Christel and her husband, Kurt, weren’t ready to leave their home in White Rock just yet, but eight years later, a move for them became critical, as Kurt required more care.
“Kurt was looking forward to coming to ELIM,” Christel shares, “But he passed away the Sunday before our move.” Moving to ELIM on her own was never part of the plan, but in the end she wasn’t alone. A year prior, Gerhard and Ursula had also moved to Fleetwood from Sechelt, and together with Eleonore, they provided Christel with the same support, guidance, and laughter they had as children.
Despite her loss, Christel sees the timing of her move as a blessing. “It was a good thing I moved,” she adds, “I always have someone to play bridge with, like Anne Maas…Siegfried Goliath lives here and he was Kurt’s first friend when he came to Canada…the Karius’ are also good friends of ours, and Willi Strelau too!” And the list of her many connections continues.
Living within the same 20-acre campus allows Christel to go for weekly walks with her family members. If there’s a holiday or birthday coming up, you’re sure to find them celebrating together too. “It feels like a miracle that we all live together again,” says Christel. “I can’t have it any better.”
Left to right: Christel, Gerhard, Ursula, and Eleanore
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