AbilityNews.net

Skipper’s story

on June 6, 2009

Having spent 35 years of my life living quite independent of government services and support systems there came a day when my lifestyle irrevocably changed. A new medical
condition increased my level of disability to the point where even previously simple tasks, such as transferring on and off the bed, or into the shower, or car, became too
difficult to do alone. At that moment it felt like my life, as I knew it, was over. In an attempt to remain free of external support and care I placed the onus and responsibility for my extra care on my wife. Ignoring the fact that her health was on the decline, what with heart surgery then cancer, she took on the extra burden without questioning it.

Eventually, however, the early morning rituals, the day-time support and the night-time needs, all became too much, even for someone as determined as my wife. I actually thought my family life was over. My independence gone and I seriously contemplated taking steps to go into a nursing home or the Quad Centre. It was a terrible thought. No more waking up in the sweet silence of my own bedroom with the sun shining through, then, later, with a fully charged chair heading off for an early morning excursion through the park or along the coast with my dog, no afternoon tea on the patio, being alone, or setting my own timetable for the day. It was a frightening time in my life.

I had known that it might come to this one day. I had friends who had made this hard transition, some by choice, others by necessity. But like each of us I thought of myself as different.
It was a telephone call from a friend who knew I was struggling that made all the difference. She suggested I contact the LAC in my area and ask for some help. Despite having worked for the government I had little knowledge of what was available by way of information, support, advocacy, funding. It took the LAC a long time to convince me that he was not going
to interfere, or take over my life – he was there to help; he was there to set in motion actions that would keep me in my home with a quality of life that, even with the best of intentions, a
nursing home cannot offer.

His knowledge and determination to diffuse my fears and help me retain the life we had built was overwhelming. Together over weeks of regular phone calls and home visits we  dentified each problem, each concern and found the answers to my needs and our needs as a family. One by one systems were established, timetables were set out and my transport problems were addressed. Today, some four LACs later, I still wake up in my own bedroom, I still walk my dog each day, I can relax in my own garden and I can reflect on just how
much my life has changed, and not changed. Thanks to the creation of a unique system of holistic care infused with incredibly caring and creative individuals – my life is still
mine.


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