This week is Seniors’ Week in Alberta. Every year in this province we have the opportunity to think about what our seniors mean to our communities and what they mean to our individual lives. They are not a resource which should be taken for granted. They make up the bulk of local volunteers, they have pride in their home communities and they keep local institutions alive by their enthusiastic participation in them.
Seniors worked their entire lives to enhance the quality of life we enjoy in so many of our local communities today. When they get older and need the care of others in town, it should not be begrudged to them. If they want halls or senior centres to gather and socialize with their friends, those should be funded by local governments. If they sit down beside you in the park and just want someone to talk to, take a moment to listen. Not only will you find a wealth of stories drawn from a lifetime of experience, you will be helping them feel cared for and part of the community.
Remember those who are elderly today were once young, vigourous and vibrant. Many grew up in the community, raised their families and built the institutions we all enjoy so much: The parks, the halls, the skating rinks and soccer fields. To take someone for granted because they are elderly is really to do a disservice to yourself. One day you will walk in their shoes and understand why our seniors may move a bit slower or drive a bit more carefully than others.
To be a senior is to be someone broken in and worn smooth by the world, and made wholly unique by their personal experiences; each like a piece of perfect driftwood plucked from the beach and sculpted by the elements. Be grateful that we have them in our lives.