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Sibling revelry 

Growing up and growing older together 
Farm communities are known to be very tight knit. Families pitch in to help each other during hard times and celebrate the good ones. It’s no wonder then that three members of the Durand family have remained close well into their 80s and 90s. In fact, they all live together at our River Ridge Retirement Residence in St. Albert, Alberta.

Albert Durand, 93, Cécile Pahud, 90, and Gabrielle Bosse, 86, grew up on the Durand family farm and were three of 14 siblings. “Every evening we all sat together for supper,” says Albert, a retired farmer himself. “Dad on one end of the table, Mom on the other end, the boys on a bench on one side and the girls across from the boys. It was a long table.”

“I have been looking after my sisters for my whole life and I will continue to do so until there’s no air left for me to breathe.”
The trio all live on the same floor, continuing to support each other in their golden years. They leave their suite doors open and can often be found together. Albert was the first to move in 12 years ago along with his wife. Gabrielle was next when she made River Ridge her new home three years ago with her husband, Robert. Finally, Cécile joined them about a year ago.

Their current home is much different from their family one. “Back then, the boys all slept in the attic,” says Gabrielle, who worked on a farm her whole life. “When we were young, we slept six girls in one bed, but later when we grew up we were only three in one bed.”

The happy siblings enjoy living with each other again. “It feels safe and good,” says Cécile, a retired seamstress and record keeper at the Royal Alexander Hospital. “I love it, being with my family, because we all have something in common.”

Gabrielle agrees. “It’s nice to see the family. It’s important to be close and after living together as children it’s nice to be living together again.”

Growing up, their farming parents believed in family, church and hard work. This attitude is something they inherited as they continue to be there for each other. In Albert’s words “I have been looking after my sisters for my whole life and I will continue to do so until there’s no air left for me to breathe.”