New Year’s greetings were heard at a recent Thursday lunch at the Therapeutic Activation Program for Seniors as people returned after the holidays. I found myself in a hug line as people arrived by bus to join the early birds already catching up with each other. Smells from the kitchen wafted out heralding a Ukrainian lunch in the works. Thursday is choir and band day and soon the chairs filled around the piano as Joanna Wilson arrived and band members joined her. Looking around the room, a couple of bare walls stood out where there used to be bookshelves — evidence of preparations for the move to Rotacrest Hall on Jan. 30. Paintings and collages were gathered in stacks, a reminder of last year’s art classes.
A small group of women in another corner was talking about the various changes that aging brings, and often made more obvious around the holiday season. One woman admitted to her distress when well meaning people asked what were her plans were, or afterward, whether she had had a good Christmas. The absence of family and friends were a tough reminder of the changes in her life. Judging by the nodding about the circle, this is an experience known to each in many ways.
The conversation then went toward the necessity to face the realities of this time of life and how to handle it. One person spoke up saying that for her, doing things like volunteering at TAPS is what keeps her going. They talked of changing roles and identities in life and the importance of getting out, being with people and especially, agreed several of them, that eating with others makes meal times and appetite better. While I’m sure each person was reflecting on very unique circumstances in their lives, they agreed it was important to redefine and redesign one’s life in whatever way one can. Having others around who understand and share ideas, as well as something interesting to look forward to, is what makes a difference to draw on their own resourcefulness.
As we spoke, the sound of voices in song filled the air with guitars, drums, ukuleles, harmonica and piano. Laughter from the kitchen, the clinking of dishes and the sounds of more people arriving were matched with much touching, hugging and settling in. Meanwhile, cups of coffee and tea were poured, a cribbage game got underway and Nicky was setting the tables. Some of the Krafty Kronys, who’d been busy sorting their supplies in another part of the building, joined us for lunch. The arrival of the Ewashen brothers — Bob, Alex and Larry — for the after-lunch entertainment completed the scene.
In last month’s column, we thanked all those who had bought the TAPS 2015 Calendar and the businesses that helped us promote them. There are still a few left around town or call TAPS (250-428-5585) if you want one before they’re gone. (Donations to support the TAPS Program can also be made via the donate button at www.valley.services.org or 915 Pine St., P.O. Box 187, Creston, BC, V0B1G0.)
Thanks to the Blossom Valley Singers who asked if we would host the concession table during their two Christmas concerts at Prince Charles Theatre. It was a great experience and thanks are due also to those who donated and volunteered for both events.
Maureen Cameron is the community liaison development co-ordinator for the Therapeutic Activation Program for Seniors.