Norma meets the Chidley’s

January 17, 2015

Posted in: Uncategorized


Chidleys & Norma 007Norma has been supported by Community Living Parry Sound most of her adult life.  Barb and Alex Chidley are delighted that Norma now lives with them and Norma is thriving in the company of her new family home providers.  This is a story with a very happy ending that only lacks the drama of common place tragedies that can always be read, watched or listened to in the daily news.

I visited the Chidley’s to see for myself what a ‘family home provider’ actually provides for the people Community Living Parry Sound supports. When I met the Chidley’s I was taken aback by their genuine ability to welcome others into their home as family members; a trait that is all too uncommon in these days of ruggedly independent high achieving adults.

The family home providers that I have met, support people with development disabilities because they have the rare ability to embrace people with unique differences and enjoy the ‘home sharers’ company in their actual day to day lives. The Chidley’s live in a warm, modest home outside of town with seemingly limited physical space. As I sat conversing with them in their front room, cozied up with their family dog, I realized how comfortable they were making me (a curious intruder in their home) and how much space they offer Norma to be exactly who she is. Alex Chidley tells me “Norma is an asset to this house” and Barb Chidley explains to me that since Norma’s arrival everyone continues to do the things they enjoy doing; Barb volunteers at the Hospice, Norma volunteers at Barely Used Books in town and exercises at the YMCA; Alex loves everything about trains!

Chidleys & Norma 002

Norma Woolman is in her early 60’s and when you are with her she fills the room with her sweet smile and emits a delightful curiosity about people and things. She has now lived with the Chidley’s for six months and has emerged from a depression that had taken her down over time.  Finding the right balance between interdependence and support is challenging for most people and especially so for those with developmental disabilities. The balance changes with time and many other factors need to be considered in the person directed planning process to assist someone in creating a home of their own. Norma was ready for a change when the opportunity to live with the Chidley’s knocked.  The Chidley’s understand how to share their home and are natural caregivers. Before Norma arrived, Barb and Alex looked after their Aunt until she was into her ninety’s. The couple lived 5years with friend Bruce Bakewell, who asked to stay with them and was happy in their home until he passed away at a ripe old age. With space in their hearts and a room in their home for Norma, they now plan their retirement years and are including Norma in their train trip travel plans to Halifax this summer.

The steps to bring Norma into their lives were challenging for Alex. He dislikes bureaucracy and there are many meetings and much paperwork involved to insure safe homes for people with disabilities. Different situations need different amounts of monitoring but Barb understands the need for visits from the support worker to be regular. Alex is glad he persevered with the process because Norma brings such joy to their lives. One day Norma agreed to let a friend, and rival hockey fan, dress her up in a total Maple Leaf costume of hat, shirt and shoes to play a joke on Alex.  Together they laugh at their camaraderie. Norma enjoys Alex’s sense of humor and Norma loves Barbs cooking! Norma is thriving in the Chidley’s home much to the delight of those at Community Living Parry Sound who have helped Norma throughout her life to find housing that is the best possible fit for her through all the chapters of her life.Chidleys & Norma 005

Planning with people to create a home of their own is a passion for CLPS consultant Jill Faber who has helped many people to determine where they would be best situated to live happy, healthy lives. The process of examination that Jill takes people through is a journey of discovery and remarkable results are often the outcome.  A special Housing Task Force is currently operating for the Ontario Government that is exploring all options to create supports and housing to make the dream of ‘a home of their own’ a reality for more people.

Traditionally group homes and institutions were the only choices available.  Family Homes are few and far between. Finding people in the community who will provide homes for adults with developmental disabilities is understandably challenging as it is certainly not for just any family; sometimes though it is a priceless offering from the community of support and love that ends up going both ways.

If you are interested in the idea of providing a home for someone with a developmental disability, or can provide some respite for families who do this, please contact for more information.  If you want to know more about the Ontario Developmental Housing Task Force ask to join their Group site at:

If you could benefit from having someone help you to plan for a change in your current living situation, or someone you care about would like assistance to plan for improving their living situation, contact: (705) 746-9330 Ext. 241

Tricia Bain


Print Friendly, PDF & Email
« Previous
Julien Escallon – A Man of Many Passions
Next »
Supporting Innovative Partnerships
Click to listen highlighted text!