Although Rodney has lived with HIV for more than 35 years and has multiple health challenges, it wasn’t until he had a stroke a year and a half ago that he needed Casey House. Rodney’s health was in decline, CCAC services were not available and he was isolated and very lonely. Originally from Vancouver, Rodney has no family or friends in Toronto, and trying to rehabilitate from a stroke on his own has been rough. “All my friends died,”he said.
“Even within the [gay] community people stare and judge.”
Rodney describes the stigma he’s faced for being HIV+ as ‘devastating’. It’s been worse since having a stroke – people stare, and move to the other side of waiting rooms when he sits down. Colleagues stopped referring clients to his psychotherapy practice, which, combined with his health, led him to give it up.
At 65, Rodney has several health issues in addition to living with HIV; he is diabetic, is a cancer survivor, a stroke survivor and is being assessed for suspected amyotrophic lateral sclerosis (ALS). At Casey House, Rodney receives medical care and monitoring from a community nurse. He also participates in recreational activities, such as healthy cooking and the cognitive memory group. Massages offer added mobility for a few days at a time. Rodney values the connections at Casey House. Sometimes Rodney comes to Casey House, sits down in the library and reads a book.