Jackie Hilton (left) and Trudy Tizya chat by Hilton’s flower garden at Columbus Court. The pair exchanged units earlier this year so Hilton could return to an accessible apartment following an operation.

Jackie Hilton (left) and Trudy Tizya chat by Hilton’s flower garden at Columbus Court. The pair exchanged units earlier this year so Hilton could return to an accessible apartment following an operation.

Friends make the right move

At Columbus Court, neighbours look out for each other

You can go home again — at least if your neighbours are the good people at Columbus Court.

Jackie Hilton, who had lived there for nine years, recalled that things were looking discouraging in the spring after an operation to remove her left leg which was cancerous. She was staying in The Gateby for rehabilitation.

“I would look across and see my old apartment and wish I was there but then they took me to see if I could get around it in a wheelchair but the doors were too small. I didn’t know what I was going to do. There were not many other suitable places and they had long wait lists,” she said.

“I liked living at Columbus Court and had friends there and really wanted to go back.”

Columbus Court manager Gord Adams valued Hilton as a tenant and decided to see what he could do to help. Columbus Court has four wheel chair-accessible units in its 75 units and there was a tenant in one who did not need it.

“I decided to ask Trudy Tizya if she would switch with Jackie. All she could say was no,” he said. “But when I explained things to her, she said, sure, immediately.”

The unit was renovated to include an accessible shower, paid for by the Okanagan Commemorative Pioneer Cultural Society, which owns and runs Columbus Court.

“Jackie and I didn’t know each other but I wanted to help her. I have been here just over a year and some of my stuff was still in storage so it wasn’t too hard for me to move,” said Tizya.

Hilton expressed her appreciation to Tizya.

“It was lovely for me that you were willing to move. I know it’s a big job and it was certainly good of you,” said Hilton, who got all her family involved in the move.

“This is a good place to live and everyone is friendly so I wanted to stay here. This apartment lets me retain my independence and I’ve always been very independent. Here I can do my own housework, change the sheets and do the laundry. I had been waiting and hoping to come back and now I’m back.”

Both women are pleased with the exchange. Hilton got the apartment she needed which includes a patio and access to her small garden. Tizya likes the new floors in her apartment and the view.

“I had never had this situation before but I’m glad it was able to work out so well for both of them,” said Adams.