Disabled adults find match in personal care worker roommates

An Ottawa couple who could no longer care for their disabled adult son are relieved he's now being looked after by a unique roommate.

Chris Jordan, 38, now living with a roommate trained in Home Share program

An Ottawa couple who could no longer care for their disabled adult son are relieved he's now being looked after by a unique roommate.

Chris Jordan, left, has cerebral palsy and just 10 per cent of his vision. He's now living with Chris Scott, right, who's been trained to help Jordan live more independently. (Laurie Fagan/CBC)

Chris Jordan, 38, has cerebral palsy and 10 per cent of his vision. He uses a walker and a wheelchair.

He lived with his parents until early last year but is now living with one of his former part-time personal care workers.

"He's a man, and he knows that, and he wants power and control over his life and over as much as he can have," said his mother, Kathleen Jordan. "Now we've always tried to give him as much as he could, however, he's one of the ones who wanted to take it an run. He always did. The fact that he couldn't stand up by himself was beside the matter.

"Now he comes over to visit us and he misses us, there's no doubt … But he knows that he's happy here, and that this is secure for him, and that Chris Scott isn't going to abandon him. And abandonment is what he's afraid of."

Chris Scott, Jordan's roommate, is 22 years old and just finished his third year at Carleton University.

Home Share aims to give disabled adults more independence

Kathleen Jordan, right, says it was hard when she realized she and her husband could no longer care for their son. (Laurie Fagan/CBC)

He and Jordan moved in together in January after Scott went through months of intense interviews and training courses about how to care for Jordan as a roommate.

The living arrangement is part of program called Home Share, which helps disabled adults find ways to live more independently.

"I wanted to try it. … It would give me more independence, which means I would be able to pick the place, not just Chris, I would be able to pick it, and contribute to the place," Jordan told CBC News.

"My intention is to help out Chris," Scott said. "He's a guy I got to know. I got to know his family, I cared about them. … I really bought into their system of community inclusion and independence in the community, so I thought I could help them continue that out."

Scott is paid about $100 per day to care for Jordan, in addition to daily help from support workers.

"I don't feel it as a sacrifice, I don't see myself as a martyr," Scott said. "I feel good about what I'm doing. I feel proud. I try to look on the positives for sure. Chris Jordan has taught me so many things, it's unreal."

Scott said it has its challenges, but that he's exercising more, eating better, and his grades have improved.  Home Share is offered by several agencies, including the Ottawa Carleton Association for Persons with Developmental Disabilities and Ottawa-Carleton Lifeskills.

It encourages people to assist disabled adults to live more independently.