Nadine Hiemstra 
Telephone # (519) 772-4399
Charitable #892254418 RR0001

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Planned Lifetime Networks supports families to develop a good life for their relative with a disability.

Program Story

Network Building and Future Planning 

The central purpose of Planned Lifetime Networks (PLN) is to create and sustain a personal support network for the lifetime of an individual with a disability (the focus person). A network is a group of committed people in relationships with the focus person and each other, creating a web of support that emerges from friendship and community rather than relying on institutional services.

Most of us have people we turn to for advice and encouragement. It is often difficult for people living with disability to develop and sustain these types of essential relationships due to disability, lack of opportunity, or society’s perception, leaving the person isolated and vulnerable. PLN nurtures the development of a network of people committed to the focus person and connected to each other. Families using the PLN model are matched to a Community Connector who is hired from the local community to assist in building and maintaining the network. The ongoing support of a Connector ensures that the network continues to be maintained regardless of the health of aging family members or changing circumstances.

The people involved in the network are not paid to be there—rather, their involvement is based on friendship and commitment to work together with and on behalf of the focus person. Personal networks can include siblings, other family members, friends, neighbours, church, leisure, recreation or interest group members, and former service providers. One of the great strengths of a network is its flexibility, longevity and the development of relationships not just with the focus person, but also between network members. The network is an answer to loneliness and isolation often felt by individuals with disabilities, and works to alleviate pressure on aging caregivers.

Additionally, PLN supports the process of network building and future planning by offering workshops on topics such as:

  • Registered Disability Savings Plan (RDSP)
  • Ontario Disability Support Program (ODSP)
  • The Hensen Trust
  • Wills and Estate Planning
  • Power of Attorney and Guardianship
  • Record keeping
  • Social Support Networks
  • Creating a “Good Life” for our family members with a disability

Ultimately, we believe that our philosophy and the impact of our work can be summarized in this simple phrase: “We are better together.”

Donation Impact

Financial support enables us to host a wider variety of educational workshops for families, and to offer training and support to our Connectors as they engage in network building. Volunteers are also an essential part of the fabric of the organization. We are largely volunteer-run, with only one paid staff in addition to our contracted Community Connectors. Volunteers can assist with event planning and set up, creation of communication materials, website design and social media, attending informal sessions on behalf of PLN, and offering their own expertise where applicable.

Giving Opportunity

The purpose of the PLN is to assist families and supporters of those who are isolated to build and maintain a great life for their loved on, regardless of ability or circumstance. This requires a social support network of committed people in a friendship relationship. It also requires careful financial and future planning. We provide support for both. As a small, community based organization without government funding, we rely on the generosity of donors like you to provide these resources and services to our families.