A senior woman stands in her garden

Seniors make our communities stronger

A senior woman stands in her garden

This is Seniors’ Week in Alberta. Seniors living independently can face a variety of problems. Often it’s the little things, like taking out the garbage or driving to medical appointments, that make living alone so difficult.

Rose, an independent senior, was having these very problems and a solution was proving difficult to come to. Her lack of mobility made it difficult to access areas of her home and her worsening vision made driving, doing laundry and other chores increasing problematic.

Loneliness, however, was one of her biggest issues. Being isolated in her home with no one to communicate with was affecting her mental wellness. Despite this, Rose highly valued her independence and didn’t want to be a burden on her family.

When she heard about HomeSHARE, a United Way-funded program run by the Calgary Seniors’ Resource Society that matches seniors with adults who need affordable housing, she applied with enthusiasm. After having her needs assessed, Rose was paired with Courtney, an out-of-province university student who needed an affordable place to live while attending school.

Courtney was given a sizable room and full access to Rose’s home while she attended school. She drove Rose to the bank, to church, and to all of her medical appointments. She also helped Rose with chores around the house and regularly cooked meals for the two of them.

Both housemates benefitted from the arrangement, and became close friends. Rose is maintaining her independence while helping Courtney when she’s going to school. Courtney’s benefits are just as great; her rent is reduced for her help around the house, and she is finding out first hand what it means to take care of a home.

Together, Courtney and Rose are becoming stronger individuals. Take some time this week to recognize how seniors in your community are making it stronger.

—Jodi Egan is a marketing and communications intern at United Way of Calgary and Area

Head to the Alberta Government’s website to see Seniors’ Week events happening in Calgary and other communities.