By Pete Hoogenraad (Cloverdale, B.C.)
Hi, my name is Pete Hoogenraad. I am 60 years old. I live in Cloverdale BC and I’ve lived in the Lower Mainland my whole life.
I lived with my mom for 30 years as an adult, until she got sick. She passed away last March and I visit her grave on holidays with my sister. Now I live in a home-share, which means that I live with a family. I also have a caregiver and she makes sure I have everything I need.
The family I live with have three children. I’m glad I’m living with them, family means everything to me and this feels like I’m part of their family. We do family things, like celebrate birthdays together. It was the dad’s birthday last week. We even go on holidays together! My caregiver took me to Las Vegas! If services like this didn’t exist, I could be living on the streets or in an institution. I get to see my own family and they often do stuff with me.
Monday to Friday I go to Semiahmoo House Society. I love sports and one of my favourite things to do there is to go to Club 16 and work out. My 1-1 worker takes me. I like how she encourages me in the gym. I like working out, the rowing machine is my favourite because I’m good at it and it feels good. I also like the butterfly machine, I can now lift 40 lbs on that one and I’m proud of that. I feel like one of the guys when I’m at the gym.
I have made a new friend at the gym and I look forward to seeing him. He says hi to me when I’m there and we talk about how much weight we’re lifting and he shows me new machines to try. He’s a nice guy. I’m working on talking to other guys when I’m there. Making a new friend has helped me to be less shy. I’m glad I stepped out of my comfort zone because now I have a new friend.