Of all the blows Jack and Hilda Orange of Qualicum Beach have suffered since Jack was struck down by a rare brainstem stroke nine years ago, they have never been relegated to homelessness.
But with their rental home currently for sale and their lease not renewed, they find themselves looking at an April 15 deadline to locate a suitable, accessible living space or be forced to move from the community.
“Moving is one of the top stressors for most people, but for this couple, it’s magnified,” caregiver Holly Carnegie Letcher said. “It is crucial that this couple experience some stability and support from our community. They absolutely do not want him to live in a (care) facility.”
The couple were living a decade ago in the Cariboo, where Jack had a successful veterinary practice and Hilda threw pottery and made soap in a home-based studio. But his stroke left Jack requiring round-the-clock care, a role that fell to Hilda along with a team of rotating caregivers.
Since moving to Vancouver Island six years ago, the Oranges have lived in a Nanaimo home modified for a previous tenant in a wheelchair; in an Eaglecrest subdivision home; and finally their current, spacious College Heights condo.
The first two were sold while they were tenants, and the current space is on the same track. In each case they have been unable to renew their rental or lease agreement, though they are hopeful they can renew their current lease if their condo is purchased by an investor rather than a live-in owner.
“We’d like a long-term rental if possible,” said Jack.
The couple requires a home with ground-level entry, spacious hallways and a roomy bathroom and large bedroom on that level. Otherwise, said Hilda, they can be flexible in their needs, and extensive accessibility modification is not necessary.
“I don’t think our needs are exceptional,” said Hilda. “But we do need a main-level entry, we need space, a bath accessible by Jack, and a large bedroom on the main level.”
After having moved from the Cariboo to Ladysmith to Nanaimo to Qualicum Beach, the couple’s biggest need is simply stability. They desperately want to stay in Qualicum Beach, and hope to enlist the public’s aid.
“With our caregiver team, we can’t just pick up and go to Nanaimo,” said Hilda. “We would have to get a new chef, have to get new caregivers.”
The couple’s scheduling and needs do not allow the the opportunity to own a home at this point, they said. Anyone who may have a suitable rental, or can share info that will be of help, may reach Jack and Hilda at 250-738-0505 or email@example.com.