The Seniors’ Situation Room Edition 1 by Dawn Ford – August 14 ,2012

– Hi Everyone. In this new column about seniors and their particular needs and concerns, I will be focusing on advocacy and, hopefully, solutions. I’m seeking your input in regard to the everyday wellness and safety challenges faced by seniors. Please share your comments below on any issue raised; it’s important to know what concerns you.

I was interested to know if there would be any public transportation this past holiday weekend. Cornwall had buses running on July 2nd  – a holiday first, I believe. I heard some questions about having buses running when the stores were closed. There are a lot of reasons that seniors and others take buses on Sundays and /or holidays other than for shopping.  Although, having access to bus transportation when the stores are open certainly makes it better for the retailers if people can get to the stores.

I have a car and can go anywhere whenever I choose, but many can’t. Some people can’t walk a distance or have vision problems, etc. Some are in wheelchairs or use walkers.  Other people have to get to work. Some people don’t have cars, don’t have enough finances to take a cab, can’t get to church, or their grandmother’s house. Some people live alone and don’t have families to take them home for a BBQ or other get-togethers.  For these people, getting out to a show, a restaurant or even “Tim’s” is a treat on what may be a long and lonely day.

Some people want to go to the park for festivities or just to be near the river, but it is a long hot walk with little ones if you live far away from the park and have to lug lawn chairs, etc.    Many such people need public transportation. People who ride the buses tell me that the drivers are courteous and helpful, making the trip more enjoyable.  I would like to see some Sunday and holiday bus service, even if limited or using a smaller bus, for the people who need it. Once it gets to be a routine and is known, it is more likely to be used more often. Do you not agree?

I’ve discovered that being a senior can cover you for a few eccentricities. One I have of late is diving into my dessert in between the broccoli and chicken bites. It is amazing how much better the bland food tastes. I don’t know why I didn’t think of it before. Probably because I used to hear my mother’s voice in my head saying: “You can’t eat your dessert before you finish your peas.” Peas! I always hated peas and somehow she thought they were so good for me. Well, those days are gone. I no longer hear Mom’s voice in my head warning me of the life threatening dangers of eating at least some of my dessert before dessert time.  I dip into my chocolate pudding for just a bite with no guilt whatsoever and the cheesy cauliflower and meatloaf take on a whole new appeal. At my age, is it really going to matter?

Just one problem though! I have to be careful in restaurants because recently, in between the routine bites of carrots and corn, as I was tasting my dessert to make sure it was a really, really good chocolate éclair, I noticed out of the corner of my eye that a little boy was watching me with great interest. He began poking his mother, who very loudly said “No” and glared at me with a look that would stop a train or with that death-threatening look I get from my cat when I am running with his food, but not fast enough to please him. Poor kid…lots of years to go before he can get away with it. Anyway, my friends think this habit is funny. I think it is great…especially if there is chocolate-anything for dessert. You might want to give it a try but not around any mothers and kids.  Mothers don’t like it.

Glen Stor Dun Lodge 100 Years Young!
Glen Stor Dun Lodge 100 Years Young!

Each week  my brother Ron and I visit a relative in the Glen Stor Dun Lodge, often staying for supper (any excuse not to cook). The food is great and the coffee the best in town (sorry, Tim’s). We take our trays from the cafeteria to the beautiful airy dining room overlooking the St. Lawrence River. Sometimes birds chirping in those majestic pine trees on the front lawn can be heard indoors. As a nature lover, I am right at home. The best part of all this is that in the dining room are many residents. It seems as if some of them need a bit of help eating and there is staff with them assisting  and talking to them as if they were all part of a family. Often I hear kibitzing and laughter which almost makes me laugh. Sometimes it looks as if some other residents are with a family member or a volunteer who is helping the residents and sharing that time together.  It is certainly a lovely setting. The staff is friendly to everyone and it has been a very warm and  pleasant experience being there, watching the residents enjoying their supper and enjoying the company of the staff.   As a nurse and family member, I like it and I like how they do it.  Kudos.

I want to leave you with a thought. On the wall of an elevator I saw a poster that caught my attention. It pictured a beautiful brandy coloured Labrador Retriever who had a basket in her mouth. In the basket was a tiny Lab puppy. The Quote read: “Our prime purpose in life is to help others. If you can’t help them, at least don’t hurt them.”

Have a wonderful week,


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  1. Great column! And good energetic writing. Thanks

  2. Well done Dawn keep it up, now come on seniors express yourself send in your comments, get your voices heard.
    Let Dawn know how you feel and what your beefs are or your thoughts are and any subject this is your chance to be heard.
    Thanks to Cornwall Free Press for offring this space for her column.

  3. I am glad to hear that there is people who advocate for seniors and help them…They deserve it…They earned it.

    I also would like to state that there should be transportation on Sundays and holidays for seniors and others who would need transportation services on these days. Maybe Cornwall Free News should make a survey about this. It would be interesting to know the results.

    Rachelle Ménard-Lefebvre
    Comput-e-able – Computer Training Services

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