Profile: PEGGY SKAHL
Peggy Skahl always has a favourite dress that she likes to wear. In times past, that dress would be washed every evening and made ready for the next day, until a new favourite was chosen. Peggy loves a new piece of clothing and quickly decides that some dresses are no longer wanted.
Illa Wood, key worker for Peggy, remembers the first day she met Peg. Illa was working for another agency at the time when Peg came from Michener Centre in Red Deer to live in the home.
“As I came in the door, she was sitting at the table having supper. And she turned around and looked at me and she looked so scared….all new people, a whole new environment, after having spent all those years in Michener.”
Illa has worked with Peggy since 1992. She has become very close to her in their time together. “There was just something about Peg. We were just drawn to each other somehow.” Peggy’s guardian suggested that Illa become Peg’s new guardian. With her help, it didn’t take long for the process to be completed.
Peggy’s first while at the 109th Ave group home was tough for her. Myriam Uribe, Supervisor at 109th Ave, welcomed Peggy into their home. Myriam has come to know Peggy as a “beautiful soul” who loves animals, friends and having tea with visitors. “She came to the group home with so little.”
Ana Bolanos, Residential Coordinator for the Association and group home worker at 109 Ave when Peggy came to live there, remembers Peggy as quite demanding at first. She had lived for many years in an institution, and was deprived of a lot of things. Ana recalls Peggy’s love of clothes, special favourites being a green dress and another white dress with flowers. Every shift working involved sewing those clothes for Peggy. She had a habit of pulling her clothes off roughly and they would tear in the process.
For years Peggy went by the light for sleeping and waking. Illa was able to find “little ways” to get Peg ready for the Developmental Activity Program (DAP) every morning. “I don’t know how I did it but I did.” Now Peg sleeps later and gets to the program later in the morning, which suits her well.
Peggy has one sister and three brothers and visits them in Slave Lake AB every summer. The family makes a big event of Peggy’s visits, with friends and relatives gathering to see her. Peggy keeps a photo of her mom with her. Illa says Peggy looks exactly like her mom.
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