Grant an elder a wish this year

These are tough times for everyone but one local volunteer has been working to help grant wishes to elders experiencing chronic medical conditions, financial hardship or simply loneliness.

Whether it’s new exercise equipment, a dinner cruise or a day at the spa, the Aboriginal Senior Wish program has worked to grant wishes to seniors on Six Nations thanks to the hard work of Stephanie Hill, a local woman aiming to promote positive aging in the community.

Hill, who has 40 years’ experience working with the aging population, said, “There are many gaps in the services for seniors, so I wanted to do something that would promote positive aging, hence the start up of the Aboriginal Senior Wish.”

Launched in June 2019, Aboriginal Senior Wish has granted dozens of wishes to local seniors, including a cruise down the Grand River, an exercise bike, and theatre performances at the Sanderson Centre in Brantford.

The foundation has continued to run throughout the Covid-19 pandemic, however, with lockdowns and provincial restrictions, few wishes were granted in the past year.

However, Hill still worked to provide “Aging Well Packs” to seniors in the community, as well as donated gifts to the Soup for Seniors program and Golden Spoon program during the past Christmas season.

Applicants must meet the following criteria before being considered:

-must be 55 years or older

-is a registered band member from Six Nations

-resides, but not restricted to, Six Nations/Brantford/Brant County/Hamilton/Niagara or the surroundings areas

-has or has had an acute or chronic health condition or faces some hardship, whether it be financial/physical/ or emotional, including loneliness and isolation, but not limited to these conditions.

What will not be granted or considered:

-no financial assistance, such as cash or payment for bills/rent

-no housing assistance/renovations, home repair/modifications/assistance moving, locating housing

-no medical supplies/care/services/equipment

-no air travel however land travel will be considered

-no vehicles – purchase/repair or modification

Applicants are asked to fill out as much information as possible, detailing them to think of a place, dream, person, thing, hobby, or interest they would love to obtain.

There is no permanent funding for the organization.

To fund the initiative, Hill has secured help from a private sponsor, fundraisers and local businesses and individuals who have helped grant wishes.

Local businesses have played a large role in donating to the cause, including Route 54 Variety and Gas, Kanata Fuels, KT Gas and Convenience, Hill’s Tire, Six Nations Health Foundation, Auto Tech, Grand River Spa, Six Nations Nature Gas, Tim Hortons Ohsweken, 6NA Limousine Service, Village Pizza and Wings, Justa Lil Shay Convenience, Sit N bull Gas and Variety, and Barb’s Gold.

“It is a way of giving back to the community, a feel good gesture, promotes positive aging and gives the seniors/elders a little joy,” said Hill.

Seniors are still encouraged to apply for a wish despite Covid restrictions. Depending on the wish, the item may be delivered.

“This is very challenging times for seniors/elders, when we look at isolation, loneliness, and depression in our aging population,” she said. “(It) is rarely talked about, but definitely needs to be addressed. I always encourage (seniors) to look who are their supports, if they have a telephone buddy, give them a call, take up a new hobby/renew an old one, and if they are able to go for walk, keep moving.”

The Aboriginal Senior Wish can be reached at 519-756-3593 or by email at srrocks1@live.com.

You can nominate a senior or elder, however, the individual will have to complete the intake and application process.

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