Statistics Canada reports that over 1.4 million elderly Canadians experience feeling lonely. With an increasingly isolated senior population, long-time Hastings-Sunrise residents Andrew Hattrick and Shirley Hargreaves give us hope that this doesn’t have to be the case.
If you ever find yourself at the Black Rook Bakery on a Friday afternoon, you might be lucky enough to meet Andy and Shirley; A pair whose friendship has stood the test of time as next-door neighbours for over 60 years. This duo has seen the community dramatically change over the years since the time
there was a streetcar running down Hastings Street.
They meet twice a week with other long-time residents to share their stories over cake and coffee. Both friends have remained social and engaged in the neighbourhood thanks to being involved with the Ward Memorial Church and one special volunteer that brought them all together.
The late Mary Boszey, a long-time local advocate for seniors, started luncheons a few years ago after noticing the isolated population of seniors in the neighbourhood, allowing this group to meet one another. These luncheons bring together a group of residents with similar life experiences who would be able to rely on one another. “It’s important that we keep an eye out for each other,” says Andy.
Road safety is a major concern for Andy and Shirley. Both residents agree that the amount of traffic in the neighbourhood worries them. Shirley indicates that it can sometimes take her more time than the crossing light allows, to cross the street. She is often worried about erratic drivers and afraid for her safety.
Andy also is bothered by the increased density and volume of traffic on Hastings Street. This is likely a concern for other residents and is something that we should keep in mind when making the community comfortable for all.
A major reason, according to Statistics Canada, that seniors experience isolation is that they feel disconnected from their community. Connecting groups like this in the community is an example of how we fight this issue. “It’s just nice to talk with people who know what you are talking about,” says Andy.