My Mom Found Connection with
the Outreach Team
My 92-year-old mother, Shiu-ngan, a retired seamstress, was an active member of the North Toronto Chinese Baptist Church for years. She loved contributing to social events, including playing mah-jong with her neighbours and making meals for Chinese New Year. However, during the pandemic, those activities stopped, and she felt increasingly isolated.
In recent years, her health also prevented her from being active in her community. She suffered from multiple conditions including congestive heart failure, kidney failure, and diabetes. Nevertheless, she wanted to remain in the comfort of her home with the help of a personal support worker.
In November 2021, my mother started experiencing severe symptoms that required more medical attention. This was extremely stressful for us because I lived two-and-half hours away and couldn’t be close by. She also became confused about her medication, sometimes double-dosing or not taking it at all.
As I worried about my mother’s declining health, I began looking for additional support that would reflect her strong connection to our Chinese culture.
Fortunately, mom’s homecare coordinator recommended the Edwin S.H. Leong Geriatric Supportive Care Outreach Program, and she was enrolled in January 2022.
I was delighted and relieved to learn that the program’s nurse practitioner, Karen Lock, would be able to communicate in Cantonese, my mother’s first language. This made a world of difference for my mom, as she finally felt she had a voice.
Following a goals of care discussion, Karen started to visit mom at her apartment once or twice a week and we kept in touch by email more often. She adjusted mom’s medications and arranged for a community nurse to visit. She also collaborated with our family doctor, who continued to monitor mom’s blood thinners. The need for medical appointments decreased greatly and it was such a relief to know my mom was in good hands with Karen and the team.
In addition to the medical support, Karen’s visits filled an important social void. She very much appreciated seeing Karen in person.
Given the severity of my mom’s conditions, it soon became necessary to put in a crisis application for long-term care, and Karen assisted with the process. In the last week of February 2022, a space opened up in Stouffville and my mom moved in on March 1. She passed away peacefully that June.
Though my mother participated in the program for a short time, I will always remember Karen’s kindness and compassion towards her, and Karen’s ability to provide comfort when my mom needed it most.
Amy Lee (Kwei-Mui)