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Supporting seniors with independent living
Carol is grateful to live independently thanks to the meals and transportation programs
2 MIN READ

My husband and I moved to a new neighbourhood in 2007, where we felt safe and connected to the community. But my life took an unexpected turn when I lost him six years ago. Since then, navigating the challenges of living without someone to lean on has become my journey.

Growing older has worsened the arthritis in my legs, and hammertoe makes walking difficult for me. My life changed when a community member told me about United Way-supported programs that provide services to seniors. These programs offer meals to people, like me, who find it difficult to cook for themselves, and provide transportation services for those who can’t drive anymore.

Thanks to the food program, in just five minutes, I can prepare frozen meals in the microwave without having to deal with pots and pans. The meals are healthy and made from natural ingredients, without too many additives or salt. I need to be careful what I eat due to my thyroid problem, and the natural meals are great for my diet.

I love being able to have a hot meal delivered to my home or picking up a frozen one from a nearby office. It’s so convenient. And, thanks to United Way, the low meal prices haven’t changed even though the cost of living has gone up for everything else.

The social interaction I have with the program coordinators when I pick up my meals is a special bonus. It gets me out of my apartment and breaks the monotony of my day and seeing the same four walls.

I love to tease and catch up with the staff whenever I visit. Their smiling faces never fail to brighten my day. Outside of these programs, I don’t have much social interaction. So, the volunteers and staff have become my friends. They love hearing about my newest projects, whether it be cross-stitching, crafting, or making greeting cards. I’ve even found inventive ways to repurpose the frozen meal containers into crafting materials!

This support is also found with the transportation program, where volunteers assist those unable to drive. My eyesight is getting worse, so I decided to hand over my car to my daughter who lives far away. I’m so grateful for the volunteers who provide this reliable service, helping me get to my medical appointments.

Since many of the volunteer drivers live in the community, I love seeing familiar faces pick me up. Medical appointments by nature can be stressful. So, having people I know on the drive is comforting.

Many seniors in my building are afraid to ask for help. Sometimes I see them standing at the door, waiting forever for somebody to come and help them out. I tell them that programs like these are available in the community, whether they need help with food, transportation, or just need a smiling face to joke around with.

I’m thankful to United Way for ensuring these programs are accessible for seniors like me. Thanks to United Way, we are not left to face life’s challenges alone—we instead benefit from a network of care and support that helps our well-being.

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