Tom wants to stay in his community.

Tom Marshall grew up in small town Ontario. He worked the land left to him by his father. And like his father, he made a living farming fruits and vegetables, building a life in this community of less than 10,000. This is where he met his wife, where his kids went to school, where his son married and began working the farm with him and where his daughter began practicing law. In many ways, Tom’s life, connected as it is to his community, followed that of his father. Except that his father didn’t live past 75. Tom is 85. His son has taken over the farm entirely. Tom’s health began to suffer after his wife passed away. He became increasingly less capable and more dependent on his adult children. He needed support with things like dressing in the morning, bathing and toileting. He could no longer care for himself and that frustrated him, which caused him to become easily agitated. When his family went in search of care close to home, they didn’t look far. The local long-term care home had been part of the community fabric for almost half a century. In fact, Tom even volunteered there as a driver before his health declined. It was small, but it was a place they all knew. It was a community hub that hosted concerts, farmers’ markets, barbecues and countless other community events throughout the year. Unfortunately, it’s completely full and the wait list is long. The only other option is more than 60 kilometers away in a major city devoid of farms and full of skyscrapers. Tom doesn’t want to leave the community that is his home, and his family wants to respect his wishes. And of course, they don’t want him to be far. Tom and his family aren’t the only ones with this problem. Across Ontario, homes in small communities and towns are either too full or unable – due to staffing or infrastructure challenges – to meet the demand of the seniors in their communities.


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