|Our grandson Nicholas in our living room (AFTER SCHOOL)|
But we came very close to losing that. Very close. In June Alberta Health Services decided to re-vamp home care by dismantling many successful programs. I have cerebral palsy and require assistance in bathing, dressing and other things. Since 1997 Joan and I have lived in a condominium with 24-hour home care. Under the brilliant leadership of founder Larry Pempeit who formed Creekside Support Services — a non-profit group — 14 people with physical disabilities in the Creekside complex live independently … all because of home care. That wasn’t good enough, it seemed for AHS. In fact, they told us a new homecare provider would be coming in, with new staff, who, incidentally, might be on-site 24 hours a day like we had.
It scared me. I was afraid I might have to move into a nursing home. Nicholas wasn’t ready for that, I said to myself. It would also mean I could no longer be the grandfather I wanted to be. So we fought like hell. The day before we met AHS officials and were told of the changes, my neighbor Heidi Janz and I had a chat.
we wondered, we asked Alberta premier Alison Redford for coffee to share our
story? So we did on this very blog. (Have a look here.) The day after I
received an e-mail from Redford’s press aide Neala Barton saying our invitation
had been accepted. We met Redford five days later and within 48 hours our
meeting, the AHS decision was reversed. We still have our homecare program
Last week Creekside Support Services came under fire in a report (click here) on how the home care contracts were handed out. One unnamed company is claiming we got preferential treatment because we met with Redford, causing Calgary Herald columnist Don Braid to chime in on the debate.
I find this very petty. So does my friend Heidi who replied Friday with this. One has to wonder if this company even asked for a meeting. Funny what happens when a requests are made ... I would suspect the got in a huff because the reversal had a huge financial impact on them. For me, it was personal. It was about my family, and it was about having existing services in place so I can be the best husband, father and grandfather I can be. It’s about the circle of care: because I am cared for, I can care for others.
Homecare isn’t just about dollars and cents. It’s about empowering people to be the best they can be. So rather than inviting this unnamed company for coffee, I’m inviting them for ice cream with Nicholas and I. They can ask Nicholas how much fun it is jumping on Papa every morning to wake him up — and then draw their own conclusions.
|Nicholas in our living room playing trains|