By Samantha Mills
Little Lake Residential has been a quiet part of our community just on the outskirts of the town, east of St. Marys on Line 9, for more than 70 years.
During that time, the group home has served as an adult residence for clients with mental illness under the management of the Middleton family. Last fall, the Schmidt family, who has a long history with the house and its previous owners, brought the home under new management.
Scott Schmidt said his mother used to skate on the pond in front of the residence and he himself has acted as an assistant for the house for many years before taking on the task of caregiver for the house and its occupants. The responsibilities of caregiver make it a full-time job for Schmidt, including cooking the residents’ meals, providing a clean and comfortable environment, driving clients to their medical appointments and distributing the clients’ medication.
Currently eight clients reside in the building, with a new resident soon to be joining them next month.
“I was in the auto industry for 20 years before I worked here,” Scott said. “One thing I get out of working here that I didn’t while I was working in the auto trade is a different level of appreciation. I get a lot more thank you’s out of the day than I did before.”
Of course, no job is without its difficulties, as various challenges – such as funding that never seems to quite be enough – serve as additional stress points. The house is funded per number of beds occupied and, due to the fact that there are not as many residents as other, larger houses, a single bed lost or gained makes a huge difference to finances, he said.
Re-evaluations are currently being conducted by the government to address some of these issues. Until then, the house will manage, and there is never a shortage of work to ensure the house’s residents are comfortable and happy. To reach them, call 519-284-3555.
Though more than 70 years have passed, Little Lake Residential still remains an important element of the community.