Pretty Amazing: How I Found Myself in the Downtown Eastside

Teresa_Celebration_2N7A0094lr
Read all about Teresa’s Pretty Amazing book launch which took place at Gallery Gachet on June 29, 2016.

BOOK DESCRIPTION – Pretty Amazing: How I Found Myself in the Downtown Eastside

Pretty Amazing Cover KindleWhat does Vancouver’s Downtown Eastside look like through the eyes of an artist—an artist who also happens to have Down syndrome? Teresa Pocock’s colourful art and poetry let’s us see, hear and feel it from her unique viewpoint.

The heart of Pretty Amazing is the unexpected story of Teresa finding herself as an artist and poet. Previously, Teresa’s artistic expression was discouraged and ridiculed.

Her opening poem, I Am Alive, packs added punch when you know that her future was written off a few years ago when she lived in Ontario. In 2013, Teresa was forced into an Ontario nursing home against her will. The Ontario health-care system had wrapped her in—as disability advocate Paul Young aptly describes it —“a cocoon of impossibility”. Against her wishes, Teresa’s liberty and freedom was traded for a single bed in an end-of-life nursing home. It was a violation of her human rights. She did not want to be there. Teresa had things to do, places to go, and people to meet!

In the Downtown Eastside of  Vancouver, Teresa has found her voice. It is a voice that talks about feeling “butterflies”, but still finds the courage to fly. Teresa has, in her own words, been “reborn in Gastown.”

We’ll have copies of Teresa’s Pretty Amazing book for purchase. (The book will also be available on Amazon, in print and ebook formats.)

Plus… Eighteen 4’ x 5’ original artworks by Teresa will be on display. Admission is free. The artist’s favourite refreshments, cranberry juice and raspberry bars, will be served!

Who made this Pretty Amazing event possible?

Teresa won a DTES Small Arts grant to create the illustrated book. The Vancouver Foundation created the Downtown Eastside Small Arts Grants Program, in partnership with the Carnegie Community Centre, to help DTES artists advance their careers by supporting and showcasing their work.

Vancouver Foundation: Small Arts Grant

Pretty Amazing

Posted in Art, Book, PrettyAmazing

I Don’t Belong in a Nursing Home

DontBelong_NursingHome_Poster

I Don’t Belong in a Nursing Home. I have places to go. Things to do. People to meet.

Please sign Teresa Pocock’s petition

July 23, 2014

With the stroke of a pen, my disabled sister’s human right to decide where she lives was wrongly taken away.

In a heart-breaking move, Teresa who has Down syndrome, was forced against her will into an old-age nursing home, by the Toronto Central CCAC (Community Care Access Centre) and two of my siblings. Four days later, she was rescued by my 91-year old father who was “adamant” he did not want his daughter living in a nursing home. But then the nursing home called the police, in a shockingly callous and bizarre effort to force her back.

Teresa is demanding an apology from these two institutions, the CCAC and the Rekai Centre. This is a sorry mess. Her records show that the crisis list was manipulated to get Teresa to the very top, and placed in the nursing home. Her profile contained false information which made her appear to need 24/7 care. See the presentation I made with Teresa, to the Ontario Government’s Select Committee:

Teresa’s story: Crisis, Capacity and Courage
http://teresapocock.com/capacity-and-courage/

On July 22, 2014, the Ontario Government’s Select Committee published their final report. It states: “Long-term care homes are pressured to accommodate young and middle-aged people with developmental disabilities without any medical need for this type of care or any training to support this group of clients.”

By signing this petition you can help Teresa get an apology for the harm done to her. Teresa is asking the CCAC to apologize for wrongly taking away her human right to decide where she lives. Teresa is asking the Rekai Centre to apologize for calling the police in a completely unnecessary, intimidating and callous attempt to force her back into their institution.

Over three months ago we filed a 12-page complaint with the Ontario Ministry of Health. We have only heard they are “inspecting” the matter.

We need a full apology from both institutions because this is not just about one person — it’s about standing up for and protecting the human rights of all people with disabilities.

Please sign Teresa Pocock’s petition demanding an apology from the CCAC and Rekai Centre at Change.org.

Thank you.

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The Big Five-Oh! Happy Birthday, Teresa!

Oh Teresa, the places you’ll go!
Teresa50
And the things you will do.
Brock50Teresa_4429_980
The people you’ll meet.
LifetimeNetworksTeresa_195346_980
Who will cheer you and greet.
TeresaV_Victoria_2589_980
Fifty years young and your life has just begun.
TeresaNYC_4676_980
You’re a wonderful, wonderful, wonderful one.
JulietTeresa

Oh Teresa, the places you’ll go!
Your head in the clouds. Your feet on the ground.
July1_TeresaFranke_0406_980
Your new life at 50 is super fun all way around.
TeresaFerry_1367_980
You’ve zoomed by jet plane, you’ve flown by race-car,
TeresaACticket_0512_980
Your new passport has taken you from near to far.
Teresa_NYC_parade_980
From New York to Washington DC,
Dancing_Washington_0671_980
From Muddy York to the shores of the Salish Sea,
TeresaDancingSalish
With that sparkle in your eye and the skip in your step.
TeresaPowerwalks_4373_980
We’ve just gotta ask…
What were they thinking when they put you in a nursing home?!
It’s no place for YOU! No. No. No.
Teresa at the Rekai Centre Nov 30 2013
For a girl like you who just wants to have fun?!!
CreateYourEscape_0207_980
Fifty years young and your life has just begun. 
You’re a wonderful, wonderful, wonderful one.

Oh Teresa, the things you will do!
You’re power-walking and chicken-dancing,
TeresaHeatherChickenDanceZoo_980
And scootering around town!
TeresaScooter_171123_980
Banking your money,
BankingTD_Teresa
And stretching way up to the sky!
YogaTeresa_6230_980

Oh Teresa, the people you’ll meet!
You have new friends who are green.
TeresaElizabethMay_980
And friends who are wild it’s true!
TeresaWildernessCommittee_980
And friends who shimmer like rainbows.

You have friends who like to spend time

Just dancing with you!

Oh Teresa, the places you’ll go!
The things you will do.
The people you’ll meet.
Fifty years young and your life has just begun.
You’re a wonderful, wonderful, wonderful one.

Congratulations Teresa!

Teresa’s Petition

It has now been more than seven months since Teresa was forced into Long-Term Care, against her wishes, and against the wishes of her father. She is still waiting for an apology from the Rekai Centre, who called the police trying to force her return. Fortunately, her Father secured her release. Teresa is also still waiting for a response from Hon. Dr. Eric Hoskins and the Ontario Government Ministry of Health and Long-Term Care which is “inspecting” the matter.

Teresa needs your support. Please sign Teresa’s petition at Change.org

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Teresa’s Happy Dance at Change.org

Thank you, Thank you, Thank you! Teresa dances and celebrates as she follows and counts every supporter at Change.org.

Please sign Teresa’s petition at Change.org

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Teresa is power-walking to protect Human Rights for all people with disabilities!

Please sign Teresa’s petition at Change.org

Teresa Power Walks: Forced into a Nursing Home at 49. Now She’s Free!

Watch Teresa Pocock ‘power walk’ — and ask yourself how anyone could think she belongs in a nursing home! It is crazy! Who would deny Teresa her freedom?

Unfortunately that’s exactly what happened last November. Teresa who has Down syndrome, was forced against her will into an old-age nursing home, by the CCAC and two of my siblings. Four days later, she was rescued by my 91-year old father who was “adamant” he did not want his daughter living in a nursing home.

But then the nursing home called the police, in a shockingly callous and bizarre effort to force her back.

By signing the petition you can help Teresa get an apology for the harm done to her. Teresa is asking the CCAC to apologize for wrongly taking away her human right to decide where she lives. Teresa is asking the Rekai Centre to apologize for calling the police in a completely unnecessary, intimidating and callous attempt to force her back into their institution.
We need to stand strong to protect the rights of developmentally disabled people so that what Teresa experienced does not happen to anyone else.

Please sign Teresa’s petition, because human rights should never be disabled. Thank you in advance for your support!

Hi I’m Teresa Pocock

Forced into a Nursing Home at age 49.
Now she’s free.

Much better.

Hi I’m Teresa Pocock, I’m 49.

Fighting the system
For human rights.

I’m having fun.

I’m power walking.
I’m power walking.
I’m power walking.

It’s my right.
It’s my right.
It’s my right to decide where I live.

For all the people with disabilities

Please sign my petition at
Please sign my petition at
Change.org
Change.org

Please visit me on the online at
teresapocock.com

Much better.

————
Music Credit: Dan-O at http://danosongs.com/
Song Title: Book of the Monkey

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Toronto Star: Teresa’s passport to a new life with Down syndrome

Great story in the Toronto Star by Antonia Zerbisias about Teresa and her adventures “power-walking” toward independent living!

Toronto Star: Teresa Pocock’s passport to a new life with Down syndrome

Teresa’s passport to a new life with Down syndrome

March 29, 2014

Antonia Zerbisias
Posted with permission from Toronto Star

Teresa Pocock is in the dining room, flashing her new Visa card.

She’s proud she can take her brother-in-law, Bill James, out for coffee and doughnuts after they power-walk through their Bedford Park neighbourhood.

On the other side of the table, her older sister, Franke James, props up her iPad, which is playing a video of Teresa applying for that card at the bank.

Asked to share her PIN, Teresa is shocked: “It’s personal. I’m not supposed to tell.”

At 49, Teresa is finally handling money. For the first time ever, she knows the price of orange juice. She can distinguish between bills and coins.

“She just never had any training,” Franke explains, adding that Teresa has, despite attending many day programs, been “cocooned” all her life.

Now that she’s living with Franke and Bill, Teresa has been getting lessons on independent living. Not that she will ever be on her own. She was born with Down syndrome and, despite her boast that she “can walk faster than a speeding bullet,” she faces mobility as well as other challenges.

But not nearly as many challenges as Teresa and Franke’s four other older siblings — all but one have asked not to be named in this story — believed she had when their elderly father Joseph could no longer care for her in the condo they shared. Teresa had lived with him since her mother died in 1999.

That’s why, on Nov. 27, and against her father’s wishes, those siblings had Teresa admitted to Toronto’s Rekai Centre, a long-term care facility filled mostly by people much older and less able than she is.

Franke and Bill believe Teresa was made out to be less capable than she is now proving to be. They charge that Teresa’s siblings worked to get her on a “crisis list” that would move her into “a nursing home.”

They claim the Community Care Access Centre (CCAC), which deemed her eligible for long-term care, “ignored” its own positive observations about Teresa’s behaviour. They say the system that moved her into the Rekai Centre so quickly was “manipulated” to manufacture a crisis that didn’t exist.

“The fact is, Teresa’s human rights were taken away,” insists Bill. “We want to share her story because we want people to know the truth about how the system works.”

Bill and Franke, both writers and artists who work at home, are angry — angry at the social service agencies that assessed Teresa as showing signs of dementia, angry that she was placed in “a nursing home,” angry at Teresa’s family.

Now they want apologies on Teresa’s behalf — and last week they got one. Toronto Central CCAC CEO Stacey Daub posted one on a petition Teresa and Franke put online.

“My siblings were desperate, but they didn’t have to be because we had offered to take care of Teresa for the rest of her life,” says Franke, producing a stack of emails between her and the rest of the family.

“If you had asked me a year ago to take her, I would have said, ‘No, let’s look at other options,’” she continues. “But once I got the sense that they were serious about putting Teresa in a nursing home, we stepped in.”

In January, Franke took Teresa’s case to the provincial Select Committee on Developmental Services, where she testified that the consent and capacity laws are “easily abused” and that “disabled and disadvantaged people are getting hurt.” She has even filed a complaint with the Human Rights Tribunal.

None of this is a knock on Teresa’s other siblings, who have doted on her all her life, taking her to their cottages, making sure she makes it to medical appointments, having her over for meals and holidays. In fact, every year, her two dozen nieces and nephews make a “Christmas calendar” for her, marking off the days they will each take her to a movie, or shopping, a hockey game or on some other outing.

But now the anger and resentment — on both sides — are palpable.

A misunderstanding? Miscommunication? “Manipulation?”

Depends on whom you talk to.

Three of Teresa’s siblings would communicate solely by email. Only her sister Joanne Mills spoke on the record with the Star. She maintains that the Rekai Centre was just a temporary stop for Teresa, until a suitable group home could be found.

“The real story here is that there should be more group homes,” she insists in a brief interview, adding that the family acted out of concern both for Teresa and their father. “Because no family member stepped forward to say that they would take her — we truly did not know that (Franke) and her husband would take Teresa — and no group homes were available, there was nowhere else for Teresa to go.”

It’s an all-too-common situation when parents of adult children with Down syndrome grow too old, or too ill, to care for them, despite government supports, community programs and social services. That’s because people with Down syndrome are living longer — so much longer that even their siblings are themselves ailing or otherwise unable to take them in.

“We have an aging population of Down syndrome clients,” notes Julia Oosterman, director of Communications and Stakeholder Relations at Toronto CCAC. “Appropriate housing — supported living, group homes etc. — is an area that we need to plan for as our population ages. Long-term care, while it may be the only available option, may not be suitable, and the health-care sector needs to consider how we plan for this.”

For her part, Mary Hoare, chief executive officer of the Rekai Centres, writes in an email: “It may not be ideal, but the top priority is always to ensure that, if someone is in urgent need and we have the space and capability to take them in, we will do so, and they will be safe and well cared for.”

But Bill and Franke say there was no urgency for Teresa.

“We offered four times to take Teresa, but the CCAC was never informed,” Franke said.

According to Dr. Terri Hewitt, vice president of community programs and adult services at Surrey Place Centre, the need for group homes is urgent. She counts 215 adults in Toronto on the waiting list. Of those, 102 are “ready” for placement now, while 59 are considered urgent and high-priority.

“If you’re in long-term care because you don’t have somewhere to live, then you become high priority,” Hewitt explains, avoiding the specifics of Teresa’s case. “If you’ve been transferred temporarily to long-term care placement to keep you safe, you would be escalated on our priority list. We would be actively looking for something. The more high priority you are, the more you are identified when vacancies come up.”

Hewitt can’t provide figures for how many adults with Down syndrome end up, at least temporarily, in nursing homes — but many do. Some for good.

“Even the most caring of families can have differences of opinion on how to proceed,” she admits. “It’s a difficult road to follow and preparation is the best thing that you can do.”

This particular story has a happy ending.

Unaware of the storm around her, Teresa is thriving in her airy new home. Since Dec. 1, when her father, Bill and Franke removed her from the Rekai Centre, she has been learning photography. She loves to play Scrabble. She cooks and she’s been hitting the road.

A new capacity assessment in January found Teresa to be “capable” enough for things like granting Franke and Bill her power of attorney for personal care. In February, she accompanied them to Washington, D.C., and all this month, she’s been on the West Coast, where she met David Suzuki.

“We’re really enjoying her,” says Franke. “It’s been an eye-opener.”

And for Teresa, it’s a wide new world.


Toronto Star

Reprinted from Toronto Star, in the “com.smg.cq.components.page.SectionImpl@1b838653” section.

[iCopyright]2014 Torstar Syndication Services. All rights reserved. Licensed by Mrs Franke James on March 29, 2014. You may obtain additional permissions to reuse this article at the following iCopyright license record: http://license.icopyright.net/3.7212-51078. Torstar Syndication Services and Toronto Star logos are trademarks of Torstar Syndication Services. The iCopyright logo is a registered trademark of iCopyright, Inc.

See the Toronto Star: Teresa’s passport to a new life with Down syndrome

Posted in Petition Tagged with: , , , , , , , ,

I Love My Human Rights

Teresa Pocock: I Love My Human Rights

I love my human rights. Please don’t take them away just because I have Down syndrome.

Please sign Teresa Pocock’s petition demanding an apology from the CCAC and Rekai Centre at Change.org.

Thank you.

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Toronto Central CCAC Apologizes to Teresa

Just two days after Teresa launched her Change.org petition the Toronto Central CCAC (Community Care Access Centre) has stepped forward with an apology.

Toronto Central CCAC CEO Stacey Daub writes:

Teresa I am very sorry for what has happened to you over the last few months. I apologize for any part the Toronto Central CCAC contributed to this.

If you are willing, I would very much like to meet with you personally to understand your experience with us and to hear your ideas of what we could do to better support individuals and families in situations similar to yours. I would also be interested in hearing how we could support the broader changes that you believe need to happen. Please let me know if you would like to meet.

Stacey

Teresa has responded with this thank you (which she recorded in the video above)

Dear Stacey,

Thank you for your letter. And thanks for the beautiful apology. It was beautiful.

Please ask the Rekai Centre to apologize to us, soon.

Yes, I would like to talk with you. My sister, Franke, will contact you.

Thank you.

Teresa

Teresa’s sister, Franke James, also responded by thanking Stacey and asking four specific questions about the CCAC’s role in Teresa’s forced admission to the Rekai Centre.

Dear Stacey,

Let me thank you for your apology on behalf of the Toronto Central CCAC. We are pleased to see you step forward. This has been — and continues to be — a very difficult time for all of us.

In order to make amends for what Teresa calls “the chaos”, we would like a full acknowledgement detailing “the part” where Toronto Central CCAC has failed — where you think other parties have failed — and what can be done to hold the parties accountable and thus ensure this never happens again.

How can it be right that people get speeding tickets for driving too fast, but there is no penalty for wrongly taking Teresa’s human rights away and placing her in a nursing home? If we had not stepped forward she would still be institutionalized.

It has been a nightmare and torn our family apart — I fear forever. Your clear admission of what went wrong, and who is responsible, will help our family heal. And may help prevent this trauma from happening to others.

We have a lot of questions about what went wrong. Here are four…

1. Why did the CCAC not follow its policy to protect and uphold the human rights of its client, Teresa?

On September 6, the CCAC assessed Teresa as being “incapable” of making personal care decisions, effectively taking away her human rights to decide where she lives and who cares for her. According to CCAC forms, the finding of “Incapacity” can only be made if there is certainty. If there is any doubt, CCAC is supposed to assume the client has capacity. Why, given the conflicting evidence in Teresa’s assessment, did the CCAC assume that Teresa was incapable?

2. Why the heck did the CCAC counsel my siblings how to take away my father’s rights as the primary caregiver for Teresa?

September 3 – Records show that the CCAC was informed that my father would oppose Teresa’s placement in a long-term care home. Because he was the Senior Power of Attorney for Teresa, the CCAC employee suggested that his rights would have to be removed before Teresa could be placed in a long-term care home.

September 10 – Records show that the CCAC interviewed my father and noted that he was “adamant” he did not want Teresa put in a nursing home and would consider litigation to stop it.

September 11 – Records show that the CCAC received a revocation document from my siblings. Despite the fact that this revocation was a direct contradiction to what my father had said to Mark Weitz the day before, it was accepted by the CCAC without question. What’s more, the document was signed by the spouses of the Attorneys, an obvious conflict of interest that renders it legally invalid in Ontario. The CCAC knew the witnesses were spouses of the Attorneys, yet Mr. Weitz accepted the revocation without question.

3. Why did the CCAC ignore what Teresa wanted — and assume her assertions about her own independence were false?

On September 6, in her assessment interview, Teresa stated confidently, “I shower myself”, “I dress myself”. Why did the CCAC case worker immediately reject Teresa’s statements as untrue? (Since Teresa has lived with me for over three and a half months, she has showered herself and always dresses herself.)

Why did Mr. Weitz not do any further investigation in an effort to find out the truth? Instead, he bizarrely used Teresa’s statements of independence as evidence of her ‘insidious cognitive decline’.

On September 6, the records show that Teresa stated several times that she wanted “to stay at the condo” and she wanted “to live with my father”. Why were Teresa’s wishes ignored? Why was a long-term care home even considered, given that Teresa is young and able-bodied?

4. Why did the CCAC ignore my offer to take Teresa into my home? And continue to insist on Teresa’s placement in the Rekai Centre?

November 28: Records show that CCAC was informed by my lawyer that I (as Teresa’s sister) had offered to take Teresa into my home. Why was my offer ignored? It would have opened up a bed for a more needy person.

But the CCAC swept my offer under the rug, and continued with its plan of forced institutionalization. Indeed, when informed that Teresa had been taken out of the Rekai Centre under the care of her father and me, the CCAC recommended calling the police. Why?

For more questions and details, please see my Jan. 21st presentation to the Select Committee on Developmental Services at Queen’s Park:

Teresa’s story: Crisis, Capacity and Courage
http://teresapocock.com/capacity-and-courage/

We are still waiting to hear from the Rekai Centre. Considering that both the CCAC and the Rekai Centre are intertwined in this matter, we will continue to collect signatures and demand a full apology.

Regards,

Franke James

As Franke says, we still waiting for an apology from the Rekai Centre’s CEO, Mary Hoare.

We need your support for Teresa’s petition today asking the Rekai Centre to apologize for the harm they caused Teresa.

Please sign Teresa’s Petition on Change.org

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Human Rights Should Never Be Disabled

Teresa's Human Rights

Please support Teresa’s Human Rights. Sign her Petition on Change.org

You can get your own copy of the poster (13″ x 19″) on glossy paper at Zazzle:
Buy Poster: Human Rights Should Never Disabled.

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Please Say You’re Sorry… Video

Teresa Pocock is 49 years old and has Down Syndrome. She is asking the CCAC to apologize for improperly taking away her human right to decide where she lives. She is asking the Rekai Centre to apologize for calling the police to force her back into their long-term care home.

To support Teresa’s request for a full apology, please sign her Petition at Change.org.

Video Transcript

My name is Teresa Pocock.
I’m 49 years old. And I am turning fifty.
I am a female.

I have Down syndrome.

Last fall, the CCAC said I couldn’t make my own decisions.
The CCAC said I couldn’t decide where I live or who cares for me.
That was wrong.

It is my human right to decide.
I want the CCAC to say they are sorry.

Then in November, they put me into an old-age nursing home.
The Rekai Centre.
I did not want to be there. I was crying and scared.
So my Daddy signed me out.
And I went back home.

But then the Rekai Centre called the police
Trying to force me to come back.
Fortunately, the police said I was safe with my sister, Franke.

I want the Rekai Centre to say they are sorry.
I want the CCAC to say they are sorry.
It’s my right to decide.

Please sign my petition at change.org
Thank you.

To support Teresa’s request for a full apology, please sign her Petition at Change.org.

Posted in Petition, Videos Tagged with: , , , , , , , , , ,