Abbotsford House is still standing, as are all of us

Jane Stallabrass, Abbotsford’s Community Support Services (seated) and Pat Goyeche, Coordinator of Community Programs, explore ways to use technology to connect with seniors.   PHOTO: Karen Anne Blakely

By Pat Goyeche

It’s hard to fathom how many months have passed since Abbotsford was forced to close its doors to the public. Back in March, we would never have imagined we would still be shut in November. Though our doors may be closed, we are not closed to you and you have certainly not been idle.

I have been so impressed with the good sense and grace with which our members and clients have adapted to the reality of restrictions and change brought on by COVID-19. Things we never thought we would have to do are being done, and our virtual worlds have expanded as one-to-one, in-person interactions have decreased.

Even those who might not fully embrace technology are using landline telephones, cell phones, tablets and computers in ways they had not imagined. Banking, grocery shopping and medical appointments are often done with the aid of technology. Helpful friends, families and virtual strangers have played a role in this as well. A shout-out to our volunteers who check in and chat with our folks’ and to perfect strangers who are lending a hand by keeping an eye on each other in our community.

I think everyone would agree that the point is to stay connected as we weather the pandemic storm. We feel a breath of fresh air and renewed hope one month, then we have to scale back as our anxiety grows the next month.

November may be one of the latter months, when we have to hang on, hang in, hold tight and reach out. Join a virtual something or other, call a friend, have a meal with a friend or family member, virtually or in person (if they are in your bubble) and carry on making connections. Be safe but be ever mindful of our need to connect. Keep sparking your imagination and find moments to celebrate the mundane. A walk on a sunny day is worthy of celebration!

Abbotsford will continue to offer virtual programming for seniors throughout November and December. Check out our website under Abbotsford Community Programs and What’s Up at Abbotsford for the latest information. We also offer free meditation over the telephone, a book/puzzle exchange and sale on our front porch (as long as the snow doesn’t fly), and numerous community support services for caregivers and clients.

Members and friends are asked to renew their yearly membership or join Abbotsford for the first time, starting mid-November, to help bolster Abbotsford Programming and Services. If you have made use of our services, you know how we strive to serve you, and we will continue to do so with your interests and needs at the centre of our mandate. We have been working at a reduced staffing level and coping with new challenges, and we truly appreciate how you have supported us. Your financial support will ensure that when the tide subsides and we reach post-pandemic safe shores, our doors will open again. And we will all be bit humbled with gratitude for our mutual fortitude.

I would like to publicly thank the volunteers who made our 45th Annual Bazaar Days possible. Keen young students, community members and Abbotsford volunteers made beautiful displays and kept smiling and selling for two brilliant Saturdays in September.  Let’s hope the 46th will be indoors and in November!

Unfortunately, we are unable to take in donations of goods at this time but will let you know when we can. Your donations for the bazaar are part of what makes our fundraising and our functioning as a seniors’ centre work so well.

We continue to share our beautiful gardens with our neighbours and friends who pass by and appreciate what each month brings to the garden palette. “Carol and Crew” recently helped put the gardens to bed for the winter. That said, friends of Abbotsford, resist the urge to hibernate in the months to come; join in and keep connected with and through Abbotsford.

Abbotsford is your community support centre for adults 55+. We are the community programs of The Glebe Centre Inc., a charitable, not-for-profit, organization which includes a 254-bed long-term care home. Find out more about our services by telephoning us: Mon.-Fri .9 a.m.– 4 p.m. at 613-230-5730 or by checking out all of The Glebe Centre facilities and Abbotsford Community Programs on our website

Pat Goyeche is coordinator of community programs at Abbotsford.

“Carol and Crew” put the Abbotsford garden to bed for the winter. PHOTO: PAT GOYECHE
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