Help Keep Karen Connected
Born in Windsor and the oldest of eight children, Karen finished grade 10 and went out to find work. She found a job, but was soon laid off. Restless and in need of employment, she set out to visit her aunt and uncle in Kitchener and was hired by Schneiders.
During that time she met her future husband, Ed. The couple dated for a number of years before deciding to go their separate ways. Karen returned home and worked at GM, which was a brand new factory at the time.
One day the phone rang. It was Ed. He was going to his cousin’s wedding in Chicago and he wanted her to go with him. At first she said no, but Ed was persistent. The rest is history.
A couple of years ago Ed was admitted to hospital and diagnosed with Parkinson’s disease. Karen knew she could no longer take care of him on her own.
"It was really tough the last two years he was at home. It's hard to do that but there comes a time when you have to,” she said.
Ed now resides in a long-term care facility in North Waterloo, a 25‑minute drive from their Kitchener home.
A friend first told Karen about Community Support Connections – Meals on Wheels and More (CSC), a local charity that provides a range of supports and services to help people live at home with independence and dignity.
“One of my friends who couldn’t drive anymore used it [CSC], and when I was having a hard time finding enough people to take me out there and bring me home, my nephew said why don’t you try them,” said Karen.
“It’s been a good experience so far. Some of the drivers are just fabulous,” she said. “It means I don't have to phone so many people to try to get a volunteer to take me out there, and I can't drive anymore so it nails you down quite a bit.”
The city bus isn’t an option for Karen. Not only would it take a long time, but there’s still a half an hour walk from the bus stop.
“In the winter time that's no good at my age, especially not this past winter! So I really appreciate it. I think it's marvelous that we have it,” she said.
Ed is on a waitlist to move to a facility closer to home, but for now Karen is grateful for the dedicated volunteers who take her to see her husband as often as she can.
"People ask me why I come so often to see Ed, and the best reason I have is that it's empty at home. I go see him to know that I'm still connected. I still have a purpose."
If you or someone you know is interested in a rewarding and flexible volunteer opportunity, become a volunteer driver by calling 519‑772‑8787 or apply online at https://communitysupportconnections.org/volunteer/apply/. Mileage reimbursement is available.
Watch Karen’s video here: https://youtu.be/O6dNR897hgQ