‘Seniors in Conversation’ that launched last June was made possible by a ‘New Horizon’s for
Seniors’ federal government grant. Reverend Arran Thorpe and I started a conversation about how we could effectively embrace more seniors in the neighborhood. We were aware of the fact that this population in Old
Ottawa South was badly underserved. Arran mentioned this to Donna Rourke who
immediately offered to become involved.
Donna’s knowledge of the challenges facing seniors was instrumental in developing our grant
proposal. We met several times to discuss how to focus the proposal to meet many
outstanding needs and issues facing an older adult community. Donna knew where to find
information and resources, people to contact in developing a bank of speakers and the fine
and gentle art of respecting older adults. So much of the phrasing we use, the words that have
become part of daily language are inappropriate and disrespectful. I was so grateful for
Donna’s professionalism, her guidance, her wisdom.
Donna runs the Young Intern Program (YIP) at the Anglican Diocese. Through this she has
established some great opportunities for young people. I think my greatest learning moment was when I realized that the senior or older adult population is actually more than one generation. Many over 65’s (which seems to be the age one becomes a senior) are taking care of parents. Some seniors are caregivers to seniors 25
years older than themselves! Why the penny didn’t drop when I was looking after my mother I do not know.
I will always be grateful for the work that Arran, Donna and I did together in creating this opportunity for older adults. The last few years have brought me into relationship with the next set of church leaders. I am
pleased and excited to report we are in excellent hands with these thoughtful committed
professionals. I take comfort in their trust that all will be well.
Heather Maclachlan, Lead Volunteer for Seniors at Trinity Church