• By: Ryan Lythall

Trying to survive in a broken system can be costly.

ABOVE: As a result of the government-appointed agency leaving Ryan Lythall helpless, his friends suggest he start a GoFundMe campaign to pay for the caregivers he must have to live on his own. 

Recently, I had a big meeting regarding the shortage of caregivers. Over the past two or three months, I’ve had to hire people to work the 4-12 shifts. While I prefer and feel safer and comfortable with them, the cost quickly adds up, especially since I’m on ODSP.

My original plan was to hire someone to work every second Friday, which is well within my budget. On those Fridays, I can attend concerts and different events, and they can be with me for eight hours during the evening. Sadly, I need to do this to have some type of normal life.

Then again, what is a normal life?

Everyone in this world has their struggles, and we do what we need to do to survive and, hopefully, even thrive.

So, in the weeks after I hired a PSW privately, the agencies that regularly provide staff for me ran into problems regarding scheduling and being short-staffed. Long story short, some of my evening shifts weren’t covered. The responsibility of finding someone to get the shift covered fell on me.

On paper, this is a good thing. I’m in charge of finding someone I feel safe and comfortable with, plus I could also go out during the evening without needing to ask two or three people for permission. Call me crazy, but I don’t think that a 47-year-old should need to ask permission to go out.

The downside of being in charge of filling shifts is, for starters, the person(s) may not be available. I understand. I don’t expect others to cancel their plans to help me for eight hours. It’s stressful if they can’t. I’ll just need to ask someone else on my list and hopefully have success.

The second thing, which I hate to repeat, is the money.

As far as the money goes, that’s a tougher issue. I say tougher, but both downsides are about even.

As some of you are aware, I’m on ODSP. As you’re also aware, ODSP doesn’t provide enough to cover daily living costs, not even close.

So, what am I supposed to do?

A few friends have suggested I start a GoFundMe page or something similar. While I have considered it, I’m not a person that likes to ask for money or handouts. I’m also not someone that wants pity and have people feeling sorry for me.

That’s not how I roll.

I have considered starting a page on Patreon for writing, but I’ve heard bad things about the site.

And, no, I will never have an Only Fans page—no offence to those that have one. I just don’t see it as a realistic option for myself.

I honestly don’t know what to do at this point. I’m scared that I’ll run out of money and one day not be able to pay my private PSW,  which will lead me to be forced to spend time in a hospital or live in a long-term care home just because I wasn’t able to pay as a result of a very broken system.

If any of you have suggestions, please feel free to contact me through social media. Any genuine help would be greatly appreciated.

As far as my meeting last week, it went well. I felt that I was able to address my concerns. I can’t get into specifics, but the wheels are in motion to improve my situation.

Right now, it’s a waiting game, which is very stressful.