Perseverance and Creativity in Challenging Times: Colin’s Story

Colin is a LOFT client who struggles with short-term memory loss. He needs his name on the door of his LOFT home so he knows which room is his. Due to his condition, Colin has a hard time developing social relationships, which can easily lead to isolation. As the COVID-19 pandemic hit, Colin became even more isolated.

Before the pandemic, Colin was already a “high-support” client, which means that he needs 24/7 care to live comfortably. On any given day, he would need help with daily living activities such as personal care, laundry, and unit tiding. He also needs someone to accompany him, to provide support with his mobility challenges, and to ensure he can return home safely.

When Colin developed a fever and a cough, he had to be quarantined in his room for two weeks in case he tested positive for COVID-19. Every day, LOFT staff explained the reason why he could not leave his room. Every day, Colin made the choice to co-operate. It was hard for him to stay in his room, and it was hard for the LOFT team to monitor him constantly while working with other clients.

Even though this was a challenging situation, it still had a positive impact on him. Colin started to gain more independence and to take care of himself while alone in his unit. Having never watched TV before, he started watching the news every day to understand what was happening and remind himself of the importance of his quarantine. Better yet, Colin was able to remember how to turn the TV on and off without requiring staff assistance. Our team also started to give him a newspaper to read every day, which he now loves, and to do grocery shopping for our clients so they wouldn’t have to leave the residence.

Everyone needed to have an incredible amount of patience, but the LOFT staff was creative and resilient. They acted quickly by adding signs in his unit to remind him that he couldn’t leave his room, to suggest other things he could do while in quarantine, and to explain how he could stay in touch with staff. There were instances when he would try to leave his room, but most of the time the team was amazed to see how willing he was to co-operate.

When Colin tested negative, it was a moment for celebration. Our team celebrated his health and his perseverance: the key factors for his well-being during these difficult times.

LOFT’s Wilkinson Housing and Support Services provides recovery and psychosocial rehabilitation services. It utilizes a peer support model to encourage natural support networks, and includes clients in the decision-making process.