HOW HELP FOR SAM BECAME HELP FOR ANNE
What started as a registration for Pet Assist became a new client for Escorted Transportation, as Anne needed more help than she realized.
"Anne" (this client asked that we change her name) has lived in Calgary most of her adult life. She was a single mom and raised her daughter on her own. She’s a business minded woman with a special gift for connecting with people, independent and self-motivated. When you meet Anne, the first thing that strikes you is her warm smile followed by a firm handshake. Next come her two little dogs to investigate and sniff you out. After their investigation is complete, they share kisses and want to cuddle up to you. After talking to her for a while you’d quickly discover that her daughter recently passed away after a battle with cancer. When you live to be 94, she tells me, you get used to saying goodbye to people you love. However, she says, nothing can prepare you for having to say goodbye to your child. She looks down at Sam and tells me that he’s her daughter's dog, a 5 year old terrier. She couldn’t bear to let him go to an unfamiliar home after he’d just lost his mom. Plus, he’s a comfort to Anne as well in her daughter's absence. I don’t get to hear much about her daughter, but it’s obvious that they had a close relationship. She has a store room full of leftover supplies and stock from the last business venture she and her daughter started together. After her daughter’s diagnosis, that came to a halt and was put on the back burner. Now it sits there, as a reminder of what would have been.
Anne struggles with her mobility, she can get around her house okay but she no longer feels comfortable taking her dogs for longer walks or driving her car. Her eyesight has deteriorated and she knows her reflexes aren’t what they once were. She has a car in the back that she loves but she has given up driving of her own accord as she says she would never be able to forgive herself if she caused an accident and hurt someone else. She mentions to me that she has a friend who drives her if she needs, to medical appointments or to the store for groceries. He’s in his 70’s now with his own health concerns so she doesn’t like to bother him if she doesn’t have to. Just earlier that day she made her own way on foot to her family doctors office. It’s an uphill journey from her place, and it took her about an hour to make it there, even though it’s only 8 blocks away. She smiles and says that she thought the way back, as it’s downhill, would be much easier. That’s only if your walker doesn’t get away from you - she slides in jokingly. She’d take the bus but the stop is far from her house and the times aren’t frequent so she figures it would be at least the same time anyways. She also feels uncomfortable on the bus as she moves slower and has fallen in the past.
The original intention of my visit was to sign her up for our Pet Assist program to find a volunteer to help her walk her two dogs. She had heard about the Pet Assist program in the Kerby News Letter and she knew her dogs were missing the longer walks she’s no longer able to provide. After chatting for about half an hour, going through our registration, it’s clear to me that she would greatly benefit from help with transportation as well. I mentioned to her our Escorted Transportation Program and Shopping Companion Program, and that we could help her get to her medical appointments and get her groceries through our volunteer programs. She says she’s always been so independent and could always rely on her daughter. "I never thought I would be in this position", she tells me through teary eyes. She continues to say how warmed her heart is to hear that these programs exist and that volunteers help seniors with these basic but essential services.
I happily signed her up for all three programs. She has several medical appointments coming up that she could use assistance getting to, some tests at the South Health Campus she’s been putting off because she had no way of getting there on her own and knew it would be a very long day for her friend who was already helping her so much. She’s low-income so a taxi wasn’t an option for her either. The waitlist for Escorted Transportation is long but we hope, with your help, that we can reduce the waitlist and give Anne and the other seniors on the waitlist, access to the program as soon as possible.
~ Emma, Calgary Seniors Volunteer Coordinator
It costs Calgary Seniors an average of $50 each return trip for Escorted Transportation. There is no fee for the seniors, who are all very low-income, and the volunteers are reimbursed for their mileage. For as little as $50, you can help Anne get to one of her appointments.