It was a beautiful day for a road trip. Hazel made herself comfortable in a seat next to Millie. It had been quite some time since she had visited the Calgary area and she honestly couldn’t remember if she had ever travelled by bus anywhere outside the city – it was pretty exciting.
“Have you been to this place before?,” she asked Millie. Millie shook her head, “No, but I hear it’s quite the shopping centre. Lots of great bargains to be had.” Hazel had never been much of a shopper, finding malls crowded, loud and busy. That being considered, she was happy to sign up for the trip as it was a day out with friends, and a new adventure for her. She also figured that the walking would do her some good. And there was a rumour of a pretty fabulous chocolate shop – she did like chocolate.
It was a long drive but a pleasant one. The ladies at the front of the bus chatted away with each other, joking around occasionally with the driver who they had nicknamed ‘The Silver Fox.’ There were a few men travelling as well, though they were decidedly quieter on the trip opting to nap rather than engage in all the silliness. Hazel enjoyed getting to know some of the residents better, conversing with the few that were seated around her that she hadn’t yet met in the community. One lady, Ellie, shared stories of her life in Cameroon prior to moving to Canada just short of eleven years ago. Hazel found Ellie’s French accent soothing, so much so that she unintentionally nodded off a few times. She had to apologize and explain that it was not her stories, but rather the beautiful cadence of her voice acting like a lullaby of sorts. Ellie just laughed warmly and said she understood, and then broke into a soft song, much to the enjoyment of everyone else in the group.
Hazel spent the day wandering the shops of Cross Iron Mills with her new friends. There was so much to look at. She found herself two throw cushions for the new loveseat she and Charlie had purchased, as it fit better in the living room than their old Queen Anne-style couch they had had for years. She also made sure to stop by the chocolate shop and picked up a few “treats” to take back home. She was pleased with her purchases, but most importantly, she was proud that she was able to keep up with the group. She had been a bit apprehensive about all the walking, but found that she was able to get around without too much trouble. When her legs got tired, she would have a sit, and usually with the rest of the group who also needed breaks every so often. Fortunately, there was no shortage of benches along the way.
For someone who had been in a hospital bed several months ago, you never would have known it. Hazel thought a lot about this on her trip. Without the support of the staff, her friends, and Charlie who knows what kind of shape she would be in. She had done an entire day of walking, unassisted, and though extremely tired, she felt great! As the bus made its way back to Edmonton, Hazel closed her eyes and had a rest. It had been a very good day.
Many seniors report improved health and wellness benefits after settling into their seniors housing communities. The social interaction, recreational activities and planned events reduce isolation, depression and motivate people to stay as active as possible. Day trips further add to these offerings and provide additional opportunities to maintain interests and an active lifestyle.
What activities/events are offered in your community? What would you like to see added? Share your thoughts with us!