My Dream: Creating community

Maggie Litster lives independently in a community she loves.

Maggie Litster lives independently in
a community she loves.

By Maggie Litster

I grew up in Armstrong, B.C. and lived with my mom on our farm until I was 61 years old. My mom always told me I could do things and expected a lot from my abilities. I knew for a long time that one day I wanted to have my own place and live on my own.

At the beginning, many people told me it wasn’t possible. They said I didn’t have enough money and that I wouldn’t be able to have my own place because of my disability.

After my mom passed away, there was a short time that I had to live away from my community and also in a home that wasn’t right for me.

I was one of the founding members of our local self advocacy group in Armstrong 30 years ago, so I knew it was important to speak up and use my voice.

My friends and I put together my support network called Maggie’s Hugs. It was these friends and family who helped me to talk to CLBC about what I wanted my home and community to look like. I wanted a home that was accessible for my scooter and close to the activities that are important to me. We found Orchard Valley Retirement Residence in Vernon.

I love Orchard Valley because it is in the middle of my community and I can be independent and go to all the places I love, like the Red Hat Society and People Place Community Centre where I am on the board. At Orchard Valley, I have a very important role to write and deliver cards to all the 320 residents. I do birthday and sympathy and get well cards. It is also my job to do the mail run for all the residents.

I have a cute, cozy apartment with a deck that is all mine. I can do my own cooking and cleaning when and how I want. I am in charge of what I do and when I do it.

I have an amazing support network who encourage and support me. They are my friends and are not paid to be in my life. I do have some paid support in my life, especially during the winter months, but mostly I have friends that care and who I care about.

Today I live where I love. It’s important not to give up and to really look for a home that fits who you are and what is important to you. I hope I can stay here for a long, long time.

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