DeeAnn Marie

Posts tagged socialjustice

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Quite on accident I started as casual at The Lighthouse. I didn’t really need the money but they get really short staffed at times and for some reason they seem content to pay me. My first day was eventful as instead of training, I spend the day seeing up close how messed up the healthcare system is in Saskatoon. DeeAnn and I did something so horrible that I can’t even describe it and it was because no one in the health region wanted to do anything. It was really disillusioning and disturbing to see how low income and low functioning senior citizens are treated by the system…

       —Wendy Cooper (from her blog)

Everyday this job tests me. I keep trying to rise to the challenge and sometimes the only reason I keep my head on straight is because I would be too embarrassed to lose it in front of someone else. Friday was one of those days and it was Wendy who was there with me, helping treat a client with love and care when we were dealing with things that will probably give me nightmares for months.

Why am I, the PR girl, helping care for clients? Because the need is great. And the systems that are supposed to help our clients just don’t work for them.

For example, home care doesn’t like to bathe our tenants because their rooms are too smokey. Home care asks clients not to smoke in their homes for a couple of hours before they come, but that is really hard for people who have mobility issues. Home care schedules visits in a one hour time frame, and then the tenant doesn’t want to just sit around and wait for them, goes out for a smoke and misses the appointment. They miss 2 appointments and home care gives up.

I know the perception of people living in poverty is that they are lazy, but working at the Lighthouse has proved that is anything but the case. When money is very tight everything has to be carefully planned. Using the bus is expensive & time consuming, walking is cheap but time consuming (especially with a physical disability), taking a taxi is very expensive but sometimes necessary to go to places where the bus doesn’t go (Saskatoon transit is horrible).

So I guess the reason why I try to help is because I know their life is very hard. And while I try to influence the powers that be to make their life better, that also means getting my hands dirty where no one else will.

(Except for Wendy Cooper-God bless that woman.)

Filed under homelessness saskatoon socialjustice YXE