Aging, chronic illness, and caregiving left Sylvia feeling invisible. It wasn’t until she began participating in the Nav-CARE program that she started to feel encouraged again.
“I’ve been helping others, ever since I was very young, that was a way of life… you helped people. And then I found myself in a position where I was asking for help but I didn’t want to be dragging anybody down. So, it leaves you feeling encouraged when somebody comes to your home and says, ‘how do you feel and why?’ and you’re able to answer the question honestly. It makes you feel important.”
Sylvia tried talking to her family doctor but quickly learned that with a one or two question limit at every visit, her most immediate health needs took precedence, leaving her many other needs unmet. This often left her feeling frustrated and overwhelmed as she tried to navigate the system for both herself and her husband. These negative feelings were compounded by the rurality of her living situation which often made it challenging for her to access support and resources. Sylvia worried about the burden that her and her husband’s ill health placed on her adult daughter who lived in a neighbouring community.
Sylvia struggles included getting information on residential housing options, setting up respite care for her husband when she was sick, understanding medication side effects, and connecting with in-home support services. While the volunteer navigator was always willing and able to find her the information she requested, it was the compassionate, emotional support of the navigator that Sylvia valued the most. The volunteer listened, understood her situation, and validated her feelings.
“I didn’t feel that she was going to be too surprised with any of our questions so I was free to ask her anything, that’s what I really appreciated about Nav-CARE”.