Photo by LANA MICHELIN/Advocate staff Lourdes Trudgeon and her son Carlos Mullis miss the recreational opportunities that had been provided by Cosmos Community Disabilities Services Foundation.

Red Deer mother laments the loss of recreation program for her disabled son

Cosmos director says other opportunities exist in the community

A Red Deer woman said her brain-injured son has less reason to get up in the morning with the cancellation of recreational activities he’d enjoyed through Cosmos Community Disability Services.

“He doesn’t want to get up and take a shower, because there’s nothing to do,” said Lourdes Trudgeon of her son Carlos Mullis, 52, who lives in a Red Deer group home.

The former oilfield worker, who now uses a walker, sustained brain injuries in 2010 that are believed to be linked to sleep apnea.

Mullis had, until the end of July, been taken out most week days by social workers on an Action Bus. He participated in various activities, such as bowling, billiards, the library activities, fishing and on picnics.

Trudgeon said she only found out this “wonderful” program was ending when a social worker called to say goodbye.

Carlos has “greatly benefitted and enjoyed the daily contact and activities with people with similar disabilities,” said Trudgeon, who fears her son now has little to look forward to.

But Stephanie Ball, executive-director of Cosmos said plenty of recreational programs for disabled people are continuing to be offered in the community by other agencies.

Ball said the Cosmos recreation program simply wasn’t sustainable. The agency is funded by the provincial government to offer 412 hours of disability services a month, but had been offering 700-plus hours, which meant the recreation program was being subsidized.

Cosmos is now instead directly providing life-skills programs, including computer and music classes and employment programs. People wanting more social/recreational activities are being referred to other agencies that provide them.

Ball added her staff will be happy to connect Mullis to these groups, including the array of free programs at The Hub in downtown Red Deer.

Trudgeon said she has looked elsewhere on her son’s behalf. But she wonders if Mullis will find another recreational program, staffed by social workers, that’s as stimulating and that puts him in daily touch with other people with similar disabilities.

lmichelin@reddeeradvocate.com

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