It has been a year since SAGE launched Companion Calls, and so far, over 200 calls between seniors and SAGE volunteers have been facilitated. SAGE would like to thank our community partners, including The O’Neill Centre, Ivan Franko Homes, and Progress Place, for making this program available to their residents and members. SAGE’s volunteer community is quickly growing and to celebrate this, SAGE held our very first volunteer social event, called Community of Practice. During this event, SAGE volunteers and executives shared their unique experiences interacting with the elderly, including life lessons they have acquired and what a typical call looks like with their companion. It comes with no surprise that the calls have been beneficial for both volunteers and seniors by alleviating pandemic-induced social isolation and having a friendly conversation to look forward to every week. SAGE plans to hold more volunteer socials in the future, where people from the community can share their insight and experiences with others who share the same desire to support senior wellbeing.
Charlotte became a Companion Calls volunteer in March and participated in our pen pals program back in the fall of 2020. After reading SAGE’s mission, Charlotte felt motivated to support seniors, leading her to become a volunteer. She has been video chatting with a resident from the Ivan Franko Homes on a weekly basis and their friendship has strengthened over the last few months. They cover a number of topics during their hour-long conversations, including family life, travel memories, and summer activities. Both Charlotte and the resident look forward to their weekly call and are excited to catch up, highlighting how Companion Calls are beneficial for both volunteers and seniors. Charlotte is working towards a career change from the arts to healthcare, and has a particular interest in senior wellbeing. Through SAGE, she hopes to further her understanding of the unique challenges affecting seniors, especially during a pandemic that has made seniors vulnerable to social isolation. Charlotte will be attending Queen’s University, pursuing an M.Sc in Occupational Therapy. She hopes to incorporate her valuable insights and experiences she gathered from SAGE as she starts her career in Occupational Therapy. We thank Charlotte for bringing all of her commitment and dedication to SAGE.
Shamayal recently took a course at the University of Toronto called HMB440, dementia, taught by Dr. Franco Taverna. Her involvement in research in dementia really sparked her interest in the field, motivating her to take this course to learn more about the disease and how it affects individuals...
Shannon started volunteering with SAGE in January after being enrolled in Dementia (HMB440) at the University of Toronto. She participated in Companion Calls, meeting with a resident every week at The O’Neill Centre over video chat. She shared her travel memories, her passions, and her career goals with the resident she spoke with. To commemorate the life history of the resident, Shannon made a collage that included pictures of the resident's favourite foods, travel memories, and quotes. Shannon’s interest in geriatrics and dementia research made her seek out this opportunity at The O’Neill Centre and she plans to continue her volunteering throughout the summer while working for the Canadian Coast Guard in Vancouver Island. Her passion for research led her to pursue graduate studies in primary glioblastoma and recurrent tumors at the University of Calgary in the fall. SAGE is excited to see what Shannon accomplishes in her research career and we thank her for her continued dedication to elderly care!
Fawziyah previously volunteered at Mount Sinai Hospital, where she interacted with elderly patients. Due to her upbringing in a country where the elderly population accounted for less than 1% of people, this experience helped her realize that healthcare for the general population is quite different to the care required by the elderly. Her interest in geriatric care became even more apparent when she learned how long-term care homes were disproportionately affected by COVID-19. The pandemic has motivated her to help support staff in long-term care and be more active in the elderly community. Her drive to assist in bettering the quality of life of elderly people was reflected through her volunteering with SAGE to safely deliver refreshments for healthcare workers at The O’Neill Centre in Toronto. She also plans to participate in future projects with SAGE. We thank Fawziyah for her contributions!