| Apr 24, 2008

Letters - April 24, 2008

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Letters - April 24, 2008 Letters: April 17

Help Mary, Help Yourself! Rev. Patsy Henry & Susan Irwin

Turtles On the Move,Tracy Moore

Help Mary, Help Yourself!

I would like to introduce you to Mary. You may know someone like her, or you may find that you have in lot in common with Mary’s situation.

Mary is a pleasant, 79-year-old widow who is proud of her independence. She owns her own house, has a car and three adult children. One child lives in the Sharbot Lake area, the other two in Toronto. All three children are busy with their own lives but visit when they can. All three have expressed concerns about Mary’s ongoing ability to maintain the house and manage on her own.

Mary too is concerned, although she would never admit it to her children. The house is a lot of work and she’s finding it hard to keep up with everything. She tires more easily and the aches and pains associated with strenuous activity seem to trouble her more. But the grass still needs cutting, the garden still needs weeding, the snow needs shovelling, the windows need cleaning, the floor needs washing, the clothes need laundering, the roof needs fixing and then there’s the cooking. Oh dear, who wants to cook a big meal for one?

And then there’s the driving. Mary doesn’t drive at night anymore. She doesn’t like to drive long distances and city driving makes her nervous. Why does everyone drive so fast? Next year she has to go for a driving test. What if she doesn’t pass and loses her driver’s licence?

You can appreciate Mary’s dilemma. It is shared by many seniors, both singles and couples. It is shared by their families who worry for their well-being. It is a dilemma that occurs in urban centres, as well as rural settings, although within an urban area there may be a greater range of housing, transportation and care options available. It is a dilemma that will occur with increased frequency in our rural community given the high number of seniors living in the area and our aging population.

So what is Mary to do? Move to Perth, Kingston or another city to take advantage of seniors’ apartments, condominiums or other assisted living accommodation? Hang on and manage as best she can because she wants to remain in our rural community where she has strong roots, friends, her grandchildren and many, many memories? Still capable of independent living, Mary is not yet ready to consider the retirement home or nursing home options available in the area. But what else is there?

At present, the options are limited. However, that could change, if we, as a rural community, were ready to work together to develop much needed alternative housing for seniors.

What Mary would like is an affordable seniors building or complex with individual apartments and a dining room where residents could come together for at least one meal a day. Perhaps personal support services would be available to assist seniors who need more care but less than that which would necessitate a move to one of the area’s existing retirement homes or nursing homes. Perhaps also, transportation services could be provided by Rural Routes, for those unable to drive.

Mary’s dream is but one of a number of models of seniors housing available for consideration. Whatever the model or vision, all entail a number of issues of varying complexity ranging from location, ownership, financing, management and so forth. As well, any new seniors’ housing development should complement and augment existing seniors’ accommodation in the area’s retirement and nursing homes.

In order to tackle these issues and move forward we believe that a working committee of committed volunteers is needed. If you are interested and would like to volunteer, please call the United Church Office at 613-279-2245 and leave your name and a telephone number where you may be reached.

Working together we can accomplish much.

Rev. Patsy HenrySusan Irwin, Barrister & Solicitor

Turtles on the Move

Aturtle was at the end of our driveway. I followed it for about a mile back into the woods, then to a swamp. Finally I gave up and turned back while it carried on. We live on Big Clear Lake in the east bay.

Please let people know that the turtles are traveling now. Please avoid hitting them when driving.

Jackie Davis

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