Sam & Victoria
I didn’t appreciate having an active life until I could no longer can lead one. I was a businessman with a very stressful and busy career until 3 years ago when I suffered a massive stroke which left me confined to a wheelchair and dependant on others. While I was in the hospital, my wife was told to start thinking about long-term care homes for me, but we were determined to return to our family home and live.
Community Support Services (CSS) have allowed us to do this. I am well supported with four hours of daily care through a CSS Assisted Living Program which provides both scheduled and unscheduled supports at the times of day when I need it most. This gives my wife peace of mind knowing I am safe and well-cared for while she is at work.
Once a week, I attend a Day Program specifically designed for stroke survivors. At the program, I participate in physiotherapy that has helped further strengthen and build my range of movement. I’ve also really enjoyed the comradery of connecting with other stroke survivors and getting connected to other resources in my community. Knowing that I am not alone in this is very comforting and inspiring.
Another thing that keeps me busy is my wood-working. I have been matched with a volunteer with similar interests and we meet up for an afternoon every couple of weeks. During our visits we chat about our lives and work together on new projects. It’s nice because it gives me the opportunity to work on one of my hobbies with someone who shares that same passion as I do. At the same time, it gives Victoria respite and important time to herself.
I’m still building my strength by participating in a weekly exercise class designed specifically for individuals who are in a wheelchair. It is easy for me to access because it is offered at various locations throughout my community, meaning I can be ‘flexible’ with my schedule. I rely heavily on the accessible transportation program to get me to my many appointments and activities – I don’t know what I would do without it!
Today, I lead an active life. I am an active member of a local Board of Directors, I’ve served in an advisory capacity to the local hospital for improved accessibility and I am a Patient Advisor. When I attend one of my meetings, I can book an attendant to come to the location of the meeting and provide me with whatever support I need. My wife is working full time. Our life is full, thanks in part to the basket of Community Support Services which support both myself and my wife.
Sam’s story, though fictional, is written based on the combined stories of several individual clients who have used and accessed Community Support Services (CSS). Many individuals in our communities have similar stories to Sam. Without services to aid them, health issues prevent them leading an active and meaningful life. These individuals find significant connections and physical health improvements by participating in the CSS programs.
Without these services and programs, individuals are susceptible to unnecessary hospitalization or institutionalization. This keeps them away from their home and family and fills up beds in an overburdened system.