Issue 9 – Who Do You Call?

“We didn’t even get to ask about all the costs, or how it worked,” Hazel complained to John. It had been a few days since their tour of the Manor and she was still upset. “Well, you know how much dad loves his cat.” John tried to be understanding, but he couldn’t help but chuckle a bit to himself as his mom recounted the story. He could just picture his father, irate as anything, telling off the lady at the home and then stomping right out the door. Still, this was an ENORMOUS step. He couldn’t believe his parents were finally open to discussing retirement living. He had broached the subject once, and only once. He didn’t want to be one of “those” adult children that forced his parents “into a home.”

“I wasn’t even sure I wanted to sell the house, and now I’m stuck trying to figure out if there’s a seniors home in the city that even takes cats. This is ridiculous.” John was hopeful. The fact his mom hadn’t just given up on the idea was huge, but had him worried. Had something happened to dad? Did mom get bad news? What weren’t they telling him? “Look mom, I’m really happy that you and dad are finally looking into things…it’s really important. But, is everything ok?” Hazel sensed the worry in John’s voice. “In all honesty, I think it might be a good move for us. We aren’t getting any younger, and we’d like to enjoy the time we have left…however long that might be. Taking care of dad there for a bit was a little stressful.” John felt an immense amount of guilt for living so far away. Had he not just signed a new contract, he would be on the next plane from Ottawa to Edmonton. “Look, I need to put in a few more weeks on this job, and then I’ll see if I can get some time off to come out and help.” He was a little miffed at his sister. She lived RIGHT THERE. Why wasn’t she helping? He needed to give her a call tonight. This was infuriating.

“I don’t even know where to start looking for information.” John sensed his mother’s stress level rising to full out anxiety. He logged onto his laptop and started searching resources, calmly telling her that he would help and that he was certain there was information and places in Edmonton that could help her. “Here mom, there’s this thing called the Seniors Association of Greater Edmonton…SAGE…they have all kinds of resources listed on their website specifically for seniors in Edmonton. Here’s their web address.” He had to repeat it a few times…Hazel’s hearing wasn’t quite what it used to be. “There’s also this place called ASCHA…stands for the Alberta Seniors Communities & Housing Association…they’d likely know about the pet policy stuff. Maybe give them a call.” Just then his phone went off. “Darn! Mom…my phone just went off. I have to head back to the site. We can talk more tomorrow, ok? Don’t stress. It’s all gonna be ok. You and dad are doing the right thing…looking into your options. You don’t have to make a decision today.”

Hazel felt a bit better. John was always so helpful. She missed him so much. She looked over to Charlie who was sitting on the couch with the cat in his lap. He hadn’t been the same since the tour. He had been so excited about the possibility of moving in, and now he didn’t even want to talk about it. Funny how much can change so quickly. She was surprised at how much she suddenly wanted to move. The thought of trying to take care of everything, and Charlie, if something were to go wrong what would we do. Things would be different if the boys lived in town…but they didn’t. And Catherine already had her hands full.

She stared down at the chicken scratch she had written in haste. What was the name of that place John had mentioned? The Alberta something? If they were the provincial body, surely they would know about pet policies. Maybe the Manor was in the wrong. Maybe there were more things she needed to know about. She got onto the computer…ah! Alberta Seniors & Housing…that’s who she needed to contact. It looked like a government website. Yes…this had to be right. The government would know about pet policies and the best place to live. She’d give them a call.

What do you think? Who should Hazel be contacting in this instance? What would you do if you were her? Would you contact the Ministry of Seniors & Housing? Would you contact ASCHA? Would you contact SAGE if you were in Edmonton? Share your thoughts and comments if you’d do something else!

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