Boyle McCauley News

Since 1979 • February-March 2024 • Circulation 5000

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A Different Kind of Love

This column pays homage to all the people who take care of the seniors in our communities – a homage to their tenderness, forgiveness, acceptance, and practical assistance. They are cooks, cleaners, personal care aides, nurses and LPNs, outreach workers, social workers, and others. They manage lodges and apartment buildings for seniors. They daily provide seniors with the support they need to live their lives. Their love is a different kind of love and is very important to the quality of life for the seniors in our communities.

In our area, seniors are considered those over 55 as life for many has been hard, causing them to age quickly. Most are low income; many have worked in those tough and tumble construction, oil, and agricultural jobs. Or, as youth they were fighters – criminals who spent time in jail. Some were prostitutes. They used drugs and alcohol to stave off their demons until addiction itself became the demon. Their health issues – arthritis, Hepatitis C, diabetes, congestive heart failure, cancer, and more – are multiple and complex.

Few have children either willing or able to care for them. Those bridges, if they ever existed, have long been burned. Many are unable to care for themselves and require considerable support and protection as their vulnerability increases as they age. Some just need a safe, affordable place to live close to a good cafe where they can visit and play games with their contemporaries and complain about the state of the world.

Some immigrated to Canada from places far less stable economically or politically than Canada. These people are thankful for the comfort they now have, for their lives too were a struggle for themselves and their families. Their rooms are filled with pictures of their children and grandchildren and great-grandchildren.

In our area, seniors are considered those over 55 as life for many has been hard, causing them to age quickly.

Fortunately, there are many varied housing options for seniors in our neighbourhoods. At the south end there are the Chinese Seniors Lodge and Mansions plus the Chinatown Care Centre. There is the Boardwalk Retirement Community. There is Pioneer Place which has 170 small apartments. There are all the Operation Friendship facilities: the rooming house, the apartment building, Sparling Lodge, and Hutton Place. There is also McCauley Lodge and Grand Manor. In addition, there are other apartment buildings for seniors, such as Piazza Italia and St. Josaphat’s. That means there are hundreds of seniors in our communities living in seniors’ facilities. Equally, there are dozens of people who provide some level of care for them.

In my experience, that care always extends beyond the defined job and includes a big dollop of love. Whether it is the housing coordinator helping someone to find a place to live or the outreach worker arranging transportation for appointments, their work is done with compassion and acceptance. Perhaps it is the personal care aide who has to unexpectedly clean the incontinent or just provide their regular morning care or bath, done with strength and grace. Or maybe it’s the manager whose tolerance for unpaid rent can extend for months while other housing options are found. Perhaps it’s the nurses who have to find ways to minimize the damage caused by lives lived stubbornly. Perhaps it’s the cleaning staff who week after week clean the same mess.

Many of these jobs are poorly paid with wages that make their own lives difficult, yet there is much warmth, humour, and delight extended to the seniors. Thank you to all of them for the way their “different kind of love” contributes to the quality of life in our neighbourhood.

Sherry lives in McCauley and is a block carrier for the paper.

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