The Voice of Experience: What is change?

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Change can mean many things. The dictionary definition is “to cause to turn or pass from one state to another, to vary in form or essence; to alter or make different; to substitute another thing or things.” Change can happen to us or we can be the change.

Our wonderful seniors at the Therapeutic Activation Program for Seniors (TAPS) have gone through many changes throughout their lives, from childhood to teenage years and then the many stages of becoming an adult — change of awareness in childhood as one develops, change of being dependent as a child to discovery in the teenage years, change to being a functioning, contributing member of society. The biggest changes come as we go into the workforce with learning, coping, deciding a career and all that comes with maturity. Another change comes when we marry and have children. The cycle of life continues.

As we age, our priorities change. In our twilight years, we sometimes feel lost and alone, especially when we move out of our family home to new dwellings or senior apartments. The feeling of being unproductive can set in. Sometimes we lose sight of what we could have in our elder years and need a little encouragement to focus on that.

At TAPS, we have helped the seniors to be productive again. Their productivity knows no bounds. TAPS has gone from a luncheon get together and social meeting place to a productive beehive of activities under the care of Bridget Currie. The seniors no longer just meet to play cards and talk — every day is full of things to do that make the seniors lives more productive and give back to their community. There are many ongoing programs in the works. One is for refinishing furniture and returning it to the community to be reused again.

Ongoing programs include two knitting programs to make afghans, where men and women learn to or rekindle their talents and then donate to those in need. Items are made to be placed on Meals on Wheels trays to cheer up the recipient. One program helps seniors with their physical health by exercising, swimming and walking. A book club has been recently started. There is a greenhouse program at the College of the Rockies that allows the seniors alongside of young moms to plant and grow fresh food for them to take home.

There are many other programs involved and future programs to be put in place this fall, including, but not limited to, ceramics, pie making, writing journals, choir, learning computers (to keep in touch with family and friends) and games for entertainment.

Several volunteers spend time visiting with seniors at TAPS, which both look forward to. The changes in the seniors is remarkable, they feel wanted and needed in their community.

The seniors have to use two buses to get to and from their activities. Thanks to the hard efforts of the community and volunteers, we had been able to provide or contribute to the buses. The one thing that never changes is the need for funds to continue and enhance the use of these buses and the ongoing programs.

We have one of the most caring and donating communities, and we thank all efforts to support this program.

Marleyne Krell is a volunteer with the Therapeutic Activation Program for Seniors.