How United Way helps Marlene reach out to vulnerable seniors
“What I love most about my life is that I’m always out and about. Most days I volunteer at my local Neighbourhood House, and I also use some of their services.”
74-year-old Marlene is a Seniors Connector helping local vulnerable and isolated seniors get in touch with important, and ultimately life-changing services delivered through United Way-funded programs at Collingwood Neighbourhood House, a United Way partner agency.
“I think seniors trust other seniors,” Marlene says. “Because they know we’re going through similar challenges and some of them we’ve overcome and they can see that.”“I struggled with isolation when I was in a depression … Now when I see someone who I can tell is really isolated, I can empathize. I know what they feel like.”
A changing society
Roughly one in four seniors in Metro Vancouver live alone, and the number is steadily increasing. Isolation affects at least ten percent of seniors living in the Lower Mainland, and most, but not all, are women.
“I had a neighbour upstairs, who was just in desperate condition. He didn’t want help, but he desperately needed it. He no longer had anyone to get him groceries and I asked him if I could help him shop. That was my in!” Marlene says.
“Eventually, I got him home support, cleaning, and eventually we got him into care.
“A lot of things that people feel uncertain about, it’s the fear of trying something different that is the hardest.”“What do we have if we don’t have a connection … We have only ourselves. And with United Way funding we are able to reach out to so many seniors, some that we don’t even know yet.”
Two ways to give
The VCH United Way Workplace Campaign ends December 8, 2017. There are two ways to donate:
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