Today’s column is written by Teresa Shephard, a staff member at Community Care.
Walking along a country road is a journey of self-discovery. Every road, like every person, is different. There are obstacles and other areas where the sun shines more brightly. As a co-ordinator at The Prince Edward County Community Care for Seniors Association, I have had the pleasure, as have my co-workers, to walk alongside many seniors as they move forward in their own journeys. We often gain valuable knowledge and life lessons in exchange for offering support according to their needs at the time. Individuals often use meal programs to recover from illness, loss of a spouse or a time limited situation.
In turn, when in a better financial or emotional state, people come to volunteer with the agency to meet new people, return the kindness or to gain a greater sense of purpose.
I have personally seen those individuals thrive though volunteering and find peace in the security that the agency will continue to be present and support them. On the other spectrum I have seen volunteers who support our services and the work we do in the programs through volunteering at the office or to drive others to appointments themselves require some services for a period of time. They then return to their volunteer role or volunteer in a new capacity like making phone calls from home.
While walking this journey with seniors many a lesson is learned:
1. The wonderful sense of independence that comes from choosing how you want to live your life and what supports you can put in place to support you to do that.
2. The sense of community we have in Prince Edward County, especially during this pandemic, and how important it is to support those around us within what we can do.
3. The pride of accomplishment, a meal delivered, an engaged volunteer and the difference that we all make as we work together to accomplish great things.
4. Time – it is important that we spend ours doing things that make a positive difference in our life, spend time with loved ones, volunteer for things that touch our heart and enjoy the times that the sun shines brightly on the road we are travelling on. Seniors are making a difference in their own lives and the lives around them. They are teaching those of us who still have much to learn. They are giving back and using services so that they are sustainable for years to come.
Thank you for the enrichment and sense of community that is alive and well in Prince Edward County.