One of the pressing social needs of a big city like Calgary is the social isolation of seniors. Unlike former generations, when ageing relatives were taken into the home and cared for by family members, where they sometimes helped with childcare, modern seniors often find themselves living alone, in small quarters, with limited mobility, and with a myriad of health issues. The days are long, when no one calls, and worries and concerns have a tendency to intensify without caring companions with whom to share them.
So, last year Charmaine our deacon met with members of Grace Presbyterian Church and with social workers from the City to address this troublesome issue. The result is a seniors’ day program called Oasis. It started up in September and has been a raging success ever since. Several dozen seniors living in the area now meet bi-weekly, on Thursdays, alternating between St. Stephen’s and Grace, for lunch or for light refreshments and an engaging program that has included a visit from the dogs of PALS, an introduction to mandala-making, and, this past week, a performance by the children’s choir of Connaught Elementary School.
The City is grateful for the initiative we have taken, and it contributes toward the cost of the food and refreshments. But the staffing is provided by us and by Grace Church. It is a rewarding arrangement that allows us to reach out into the community with one of the great gifts of a Christian congregation: the gift of loving friendship.