The Freedom of Community

LeAnne Carey, and her mother Mary, will both tell you bluntly that they have just been given the gift of living. After ten years of residing in a nursing home, both are now experiencing the freedom of choice— both big and small—that many take for granted.

The Careys have pressed forward and overcome substantial obstacles in pursuit of making their life in a neighbourhood a reality. Last month, they signed a lease on a new apartment, were given the keys, and more incredibly, a new life in general.

Members from the Shiloh Seventh Day Adventist Church in Avondale assisted them with a new home and neighbourhood in Mount Washington. LeAnne and Mary have also mastered the bus routes to get back to Avondale for church services and volunteering several days a week.

LeAnne is very computer savvy and uses technology to her advantage. She enjoys online banking, shopping and mapping out the bus schedules as practical benefits of the internet and which also foster independence.

The change to a community residence has produced a lifestyle where new realizations occur daily. Privacy, of course, can now be obtained easily. The sounds and smells of institutional living have disappeared and been replaced but those of a home environment.

Homemade food and silence may be small to some, but are huge to LeAnne and Mary. The use of a crockpot has contributed to a healthy 15 pound weight loss. They are no longer interact with “staff” but with “next door neighbour” Bridget.

Mary and Leanne encourage others to never give up and to press on with dreams of a better life. Even now, they continue to do so. Leanne has an interest in working with the Cincinnati Nutrition Council and Mt. Washington Community Garden to maintain their special gluten free diet. Mary plans on sharing her gift of playing the piano with folks at the Anderson Senior Centre.

The move has struck them as an amazing adventure. The many items they kept in storage are now unwrapped to discover long lost treasures complete with memories of each item. Now they are exploring again; with a course and itinerary defined only by themselves.

They expect the journey to be a magnificent one.

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