Noreen Corrigan entered the seniors' home business later in life, but still dedicated more than 30 years to running two different properties.
Now almost 81, she's decided to sell Corrigan Home in Charlottetown, the last community care home she owns and operates. The sale is expected to close in the next few months.
"I didn't start the business until I was 50," she said. "I had the drive and so many people that needed care."
That motivation, she said, was to create a welcoming home for people.
"Giving those older people a home, that was my big thing, and be kind to them and treat them with respect," she said.
Providing good homemade food was also important to her, she said.
'They really needed care'
Corrigan knows how to care for people — she had eight children of her own and two foster children she brought up on a farm.
She worked at several different jobs before starting her own business. Being a home-care worker set her down the path of creating Corrigan seniors' homes.
She said she was motivated to do more after visiting with seniors who needed help.
"They really needed care, and a lot of them were poor, so I just took what the government would pay us," she said.
Corrigan herself has a Grade 10 education and ran two successful homes, the Corrigan Lodge, which she sold a few years ago, and the Corrigan Home.
'She loves her residents'
She's done everything from hands-on care to buying groceries, cooking and cleaning and often working long hours.
Some of the food cooked at the homes even came from her farm.
Staff say she still gets down on the floor to make the place shine.
"If you saw the way she cleans around here on her hands and knees, very, very old fashioned, everything gets done," said Linda Allain, a staff member at the home.
I'm proud of what I've done, I really am, 'cause I stuck with it. — Noreen Corrigan
Allain described Corrigan as compassionate and caring.
"She loves her residents. Residents are number one," Allain said.
Francis McNally, a former neighbour and now a resident at Corrigan Home, echoed those sentiments.
McNally has known Corrigan for most of her life and said not too many people could have accomplished what she has.
"She is a wonderful person," he said. "She's good to everybody, and helps everyone out she can."
Supports local charities
Corrigan said her businesses were successful enough to allow her to set aside money for her grandchildren's education.
But her generosity extends beyond family. She and her late husband George Corrigan created a scholarship for single mothers and people with learning disabilities.
She has also donated to the Queen Elizabeth Hospital Foundation.
"I'm proud of what I've done, I really am, 'cause I stuck with it,"
She expects the sale of Corrigan Home will be finalized by the beginning of March, 2021, and at that point she hopes to make further donations to the hospital and mental-health-related charities.
"Mental health right now needs it, and the hospital can always use extra money too," she said. "I feel I need to do that."
She isn't sure what it will be like to retire but she said "it's time."
She hopes the Corrigan Home will continue to be run well and that residents will be well-cared for.
She said her hope is that people remember her for helping seniors have a better life.
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