Comfort Life - Your guide to retirement & care

Fernanda Machado - getting back to life

It's hard to believe the dynamo who is Fernanda Machado needs help, but she does.

At 61, she's been on a disability pension since 1989, when she was forced to leave her much-loved job as an educational assistant for the Toronto District School Board.

The cartilage at the joints on both hips had given out. She could barely make it up or down the stairs at school. The pain at the end of a work day, she remembers, was so intense all she could do was make her way home - somehow - eat something, then lie down and rest up for the next day.

"I had no life," she says.

For years she was afraid to go out. Even after two operations, she never knew when her hipbone would slip out of its socket and she'd crumble to the floor, screaming in pain. She remembers not being able to dress herself, wearing an old housecoat all the time, eating only dry cereal because she couldn't cook for herself, and being worried sick about the crumbs on her floor.

"What if they attract cockroaches? Or rats?" she'd ask herself.

That's when she called Toronto's St. Christopher House to ask for help. It sent Isabella.

"She's saved my life, I'm telling you," says Machado. "She's real good to me. I've had a lot of help from her and a smile and everything. She says jokes to me. I felt so at ease with her."

Machado had a third hip operation last spring.

"Now I get around a lot more," she says. She gets picked up in a van and taken to St. Christopher House in downtown Toronto for bingo, for the summer Friday barbecues, for lunches on other days of the week. It's her life.

And Isabella? She's still helping Machado at home, allowing her to have that life.


Learn all about this and other options in Toronto senior care.

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