Tips from TAPS: Thanksgiving a time for gathering together

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Maureen Cameron is the community liaison development co-ordinator for the Therapeutic Activation Program for Seniors.

Maureen Cameron is the community liaison development co-ordinator for the Therapeutic Activation Program for Seniors.

Happy Thanksgiving from all of us at the Therapeutic Activation Program for Seniors! It was a festive chicken lunch last week after a morning of singing with Joanna Wilson at the piano and the usual strummers, with George on harmonica and everyone in fine voice. Others sat as appreciative audiences members, catching up with each other over tea and coffee at the tables. There were bursts of laughter as folks teased each other and loud hellos as new folks arrived. The kitchen was bustling with volunteers and staff while visitors dropped in to inquire about TAPS program and volunteering.

The mood was one of congeniality, with a welcoming atmosphere mixed with the promising smells of a warm lunch. Autumn themed poems were read, and after lunch the bocce teams lined up in chairs as the cribbage players set up for their games and some folks waited for the BC Transit bus to take them to their destinations. Others would be being picked up by family or going home on the TAPS bus later. We wish Richard Chlopecki, our usual transit driver, a healing journey for a torn tendon and welcome Don and Larry stepping ably up for our seniors.

A stray cat was the focus of attention for a while in the past week, no doubt lured by a hope of a handout or a friendly cuddle. Some of us reminisced over laminated “placemats” of art done with youth from Grizzly Bear Out of School Care this summer. Folks talked about how much they enjoyed being with the children, and doing things like this together. We told the children memories of our childhood homes, and they used drawing and collaging to represent what they heard. Check at Creston Card and Stationery for our window display of this project, plus a quilt they did. Thanks to Mike Poznikoff for letting us use this space. These are two projects of several we’re doing with youth and seniors under a Healthy Intergenerational and Multigenerational Connections program. The funding for this came through Employment and Social Development Canada’s New Horizons for Seniors Program.

We talked about who had plans for Thanksgiving, with one person clearly stating she wasn’t doing anything (happily relieved) and another excited to be cooking turkey and the trimmings with her family, which might number 20 people. The conversation at one point turned to the challenges of hearing loss and hearing aids. Several people at our table were able to share their experiences with varying levels of deafness and also the impact it had on their lives, yet how they had learned to accommodate to the reality of it. As one person said, the great thing about meeting like this, especially for the older folks, is that we’ve all experienced so much that we understand what each other has or is going through, and that the lived experience is very different than just reading about it.

Each week is filled with regular and sometimes one-off projects, such as being in production for our fundraising calendar for 2016 (a followup to the 2015 calendar). All the location shots have been done and we’re eagerly awaiting to see the final photos to begin production. What a crew of eager “actors” TAPS folks are! And thanks to Brian Lawrence of Inverted Image Photography for his enthusiastic participation.

Congratulations to newest staff member Wendy Proskow and fiancé John who are getting married this weekend. And a big thanks and our ongoing appreciation to our volunteers for helping create a family like atmosphere here at TAPS.

Maureen Cameron is the community liaison development co-ordinator for the Therapeutic Activation Program for Seniors. For more information on TAPS, run by Valley Community Services, call 250-428-5585.