Later Life Ramblings, March 18

Shirley Lowe writes about issues important to Sooke seniors

The “Golden” years require an abundance of emotional strength and courage. Body parts start failing or hurting and all the confidence gained in life is required to carry on.  The more health diminishes  the more vulnerable we become. The local community of Sooke is a caring place for our large number of seniors – 70 to over 100-years-of-age.

Help is available and it is important to reach out when assistance is first required. This is available to anyone after surgery, recovering from an illness or seniors who stay in their home.

Sooke Loan Cupboard (in the Community Hall) will supply basic mobility aids, wheelchairs, crutches, bathroom and bathing supplies.  This is non-profit run by long serving volunteers who depend on donations. It is important that those who borrow the aids return them when no longer needed.  The inventory is costly and the service is very generous.

The Loan Cupboard will also supply transportation. The volunteer drivers are insured and they carry third party insurance.  Volunteers are welcomed as help is always needed.  Leave a message at 250-389-4607 for loans or 250-389-4661 for transportation.

Access to nutritious meals is often required.  Sooke is blessed to have one of the last volunteer Meals on Wheels services still available in the community after 47 years. Each month May Anderson (20 year serving member) and the local group of about 50 volunteers provide meals for approx. 60 shut-ins and people alone.  The very careful shopping by the buyers – allow the cooks to provide a bowl of soup, bun, protein, starch and two vegetables for $5 delivered. The volunteer cooks and drivers alternate shifts from the Sooke Community Hall kitchen on the first and third Monday – second and fourth Wednesday and Friday.

The billing and calendars are sent to clients once each month. Call 250-642-2184 for service or to volunteer.  The more volunteers the less time required.

The Sooke Crisis and Referral Centre on Church Road was started in 1989 to provide emergency help for people in need. It was operated by paid staff but is now run by seven or eight volunteers. They provide coffee and a warm place daily Monday to Friday from 10 a.m. to 1 p.m. Soup is supplied on Tuesdays for 20 to 30 people. Donations of men’s clothing are always needed, as are cash and food donations. The volunteers help with bus tickets and whatever they can but also direct clients to other agencies who may offer support. The centre is able to stay available with a grant from Victims Services, the provincial government and the District of Sooke. This also allows a victim service worker to cover the area from Beecher Bay to Port Renfrew. Call 250-642-0215. All above numbers are available in the classified pages of the Sooke News Mirror.

There would be a huge deficit in our lives without the volunteers who give so much.

A lovely poem called “A Ripple’s Reach” speaks to the importance of staying connected and the difference we can make in other’s lives:                                                                                                            “There is beauty in the moment when we first realize we are not alone. Knowing with each soul we touch, we link ourselves to the next one and change their story.”

If you see someone without a smile today – give them one of yours!

Shirley Lowe