Dialysis patient having tough search for home

A woman who is now a patient in Red Deer Regional Hospital Centre isn’t sure where she will live when she leaves hospital.

Leslie McDonald ponders her future while at the Red Deer Hospital.

Leslie McDonald ponders her future while at the Red Deer Hospital.

A woman who is now a patient in Red Deer Regional Hospital Centre isn’t sure where she will live when she leaves hospital.

Leslie McDonald, 61, is looking for rental housing in Red Deer that does not have stairs. She can’t use stairs because of her medical conditions.

McDonald, formerly of Innisfail, has been in hospital since June 5.

She needs to move to Red Deer because she doesn’t have transportation to Red Deer for dialysis three times a week. Her dialysis appointments are in the evening, when the Innisfail Handivan does not operate.

“They don’t want to let me out until I have some place safe to go and I can get to dialysis,” said McDonald, who is also on oxygen and has a back problems.

“There’s a lot of town houses and stuff like that, but the bedrooms are all upstairs. There’s just no way I can do stairs.”

McDonald said her family have been searching classified ads and consulting with hospital social workers to find suitable housing.

Alberta Health Services will work with patients and their families to help link them to community and government agencies that provide accommodation, transportation, financial and other supports to assist patients in maintaining their health.

“I’ve got everyone I know looking.”

She lives with her sister, who is also on oxygen, her son and granddaughter, so she wants a four-bedroom house with at least two bedrooms on the main floor.

“We come as a package.”

McDonald, who is applying for AISH, said she could afford to pay $1,100 a month.

“I’m getting really desperate. I don’t know how long I’ll be stuck here if I have no place to go.”

She hopes to be healthy enough to leave hospital in about a week.

Canada Mortgage and Housing Corp.’s spring 2012 rental market survey showed Red Deerians have fewer apartment options than they did a year ago and are paying more.

Red Deer’s overall vacancy rate for private apartments is 2.2 per cent — down from 6.4 per cent last spring.

The average monthly rent for apartments of all sizes was $781, up from $767.

Information on house rentals was not available.

Donna Murphy, property manager with Manor Management Ltd., said the vast majority of its apartments or fourplexes are walk-ups with stairs.

“There’s only so many buildings that have elevators and unfortunately a lot of the time they’re full because they have elevators.”

Larry Pempeit, director of community development for Canadian Paraplegic Association (Alberta), said there are no utopias in Alberta when it comes to finding accessible housing.

“Red Deer is no better and no worse,” Pempeit said.

Anyone with a house to rent to McDonald can call her at 403-392-0434.

szielinski@bprda.wpengine.com