Sunshine House fundraiser to provide respite to live-in caregiver

By Taylor McClure – Special to Brome County News

Sunshine House Mansonville, a non-profit residence for adults with developmental challenges established in 2014 by a group of parents after community fundraising, is launching a fundraiser to provide respite to the residence’s live-in caregiver. With a 24-hour job, board members for Sunshine House, made up of the parents of the clientele, deemed it essential that its caregiver be provided with more rest and relaxation. The residence hit rough waters early last year when the CIUSSSE, in charge of hiring and supervising the full-time caregiver, decided they didn’t want to renew their contract, but the board found new support and it wants to ensure that the residence’s caregiver is there to stay.

“We have a fundraiser going on to raise funds to provide extra respite care for the caregiver, meaning to provide her with another day off per week,” said Stanley Lake, board member and parent at Sunshine House. “Her job is 24/7 and we feel that for her own health and the health of the whole environment that she needs more time off than is originally provided for in her salary. This is our attempt to keep her healthy.”

After losing six caregivers in almost six years, Sunshine House recognized a need and is sturning to the community for financial support.

Funds raised will go towards finding a replacement for the caregiver during respite. “We are raising funds to have enough money to have someone come in one day a week. Her time off is totally up to her, it’s a free day. She can do whatever one does, entertainment, shopping, lay in bed all day and the person providing respite will be trained to take care of the house and the clients for a day.”

The caregiver is the person who makes the residence a home for the clientele. “We have in a sense created a family; she is the parent, the responsible person there, she makes sure it’s a safe environment and she takes care of the individual needs of the clients. She makes sure they’re dressed properly before they go out, that the diet is proper, that hygiene is proper, she takes care all of their needs and these needs can vary from client to client.”

And they are essential to providing a stable environment once the parents of the clientele pass away, helping them avoid the foster care system. “At some point in the future of that situation, the foster person may say I’m done with this type of work and they move to another place. In this case, our children stay in the home and the caregivers can change. They establish a stable environment and a place where they have grown up in the community. The community is familiar with them and it creates a heathy environment for everyone to have contact with people that are different and for our children to have friends and acquaintances in the community.”

Now receiving financial support from the government’s Aide de domicile program and AIRE, which Lake refers to as the “mother organization” for four different residences in the region that run under a similar model and ensure that each residence can operate, Sunshine House wants to continue to remain a part of the community and supporting the health of its caregiver plays a major part in that.

“It is demanding and you have to be present. It requires a very special person and we feel we have a very good person right now and we want to keep her. Having solved some of the other problems, this is a good one to address in the care and health of the whole organization and home.”

To support Sunshine House’ fundraiser there are four simple steps:
1. You must send a cheque.
2. The cheque must be made out to the Township of Potton or Cantons de Potton.
3. Clearly state the amount that you want to donate and on the memo line mark Sunshine House.
4. Mail the cheque to Stanley Lake at 107 chemin Ruiter Brook, Mansonville, QC, JOE 1X0.
A receipt will be sent out for income tax purposes.

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