When Glenda Petrie joined the Endymion Supportive Living service in May, she admits she was nervous.
“I don’t like change,” the 55-year-old explained.
Petrie has cerebral palsy and uses a wheelchair to get around.
She prides herself on being independent and has been living on her own for more than 25 years.
But she’s had help along the way.
For the last two decades, Petrie has been getting the support she needs from Providence Care’s Attendant Care Outreach program (ACOP).
“We started providing care to Glenda in 1996,” said Jo-Ann Shotton, Personal Support and Adult Day Manager.
“She is a breath of fresh air and can direct her care, which makes her the perfect client.”
The program provides pre-scheduled attendant services to individuals with long-term physical disabilities, who are 16 years of age, and live in their own homes in the Kingston, Frontenac, Lennox and Addington areas.
Clients can access a wide range of services, seven days a week, at no cost to them.
The program is funded by the South East Local Health Integration Network.
“Each client is treated with respect, dignity and compassion,” said Shotton.
“The clients are very involved in creating their care plan and have the right to initiate or terminate services.”
Personal support workers help with everything from bathing, dressing and grooming, to going grocery shopping, making meals or attending appointments.
Clients are able to receive up to 21-hours of care per week.
But for those individuals who need a little more support, ACOP also operates Endymion which offers 24-hour, on-call assistance.
“Standard community care programs do not offer services overnight,” explained Marty Elliott, Attendant Care Outreach Team Leader.
“So if clients have difficulties in the middle of the night they wouldn’t have assistance, which would make it difficult for them to stay in their own homes. And they could end up being admitted into a hospital or moving into long-term care.”
That’s exactly what happened to Petrie.
The 55-year-old needed to go to the bathroom in the middle of the night but wasn’t able to.
“She was sliding out of her bed onto the floor and she wasn’t able to get up. So she would call paramedics to help her up,” said Elliott.
“Because of that she stopped going to bed at night, and was sleeping in her chair. She did that for a couple months, which affected her mental state.”
Elliott and Shotton recommended Petrie step up her support and move into the Endymion service.
But the change meant actually packing up her belongings and moving into a new apartment at 523 Portsmouth Avenue.
That’s where the service is based.
“There are 10 accessible units and we have 12 clients that live there,” said Shotton.
“The building is owned by Homestead Land Holdings Limited, so clients are still responsible for paying their own rent and bills, we simply provide the 24-hour, on call assistance.”
Petrie knew she didn’t want to move into long-term care so she decided to give Endymion a shot.
“They’re here to help me get in and out of bed, in the shower and they cook for me,” said Petrie.
A personal support worker visits her at least three times a day, for about three hours, but if something were to happen, all Petrie has to do is call and someone will be there to help.
“I’d be lost without them. I’m just glad they are here, because I wouldn’t know what to do if they weren’t,” said Petrie.
“Staff are in the building 24/7 to provide care as needed,” added Shotton.
“It’s a privilege to be part of this unique service because not only are we helping clients stay in their homes longer, but they also form strong connections with staff when they invite them into their homes.”
Take Petrie and Elliott for example.
Elliott has been supporting Petrie for 15 years.
They’ve struck up a real friendship, and he even has a nickname for her.
“Time flies when you’re having fun eh Glender?” said Elliott.
“Yeah, we do have fun with you Marty,” laughed Petrie.
And sometimes if the mood is right, you’ll even catch Elliott singing a tune or two to Petrie.
“She’s the only one who listens when I sing,” chuckled Elliott.
“His singing is good, he’s not so serious and he makes it fun,” smiled Petrie.
It’s only been a few months, but the 55-year-old says her new apartment is starting to feel like home.
“Once I got my furniture in here and everything, I thought OMG it’s bigger than I thought,” Petrie grinned.
“And I’m glad I can sleep in my own bed now and stretch my legs. It’s great.”
Click here to learn more about the Attendant Care Outreach program or its Endymion Supportive Living service.