Despite having had a stroke and needing the assistance of a walker when on the move, Monica Hewitt sticks to a strict routine. “You have to,” says Monica, a Burlington senior, “if you want to remain self sufficient.”
Part of her routine is the telephone calls she receives every day at 9:00am from her TeleTouch volunteer callers. As Monica says, “It’s easier to get yourself up and going when you know someone’s calling first thing in the morning.”
Although one of her daughters lives nearby, and she’s in regular touch with her grandson (she likes to inquire about the current state of his love life), she deeply appreciates her volunteer callers. “If I’m having a bad day, I can just tell them. I don’t have to worry about upsetting them like I worry about upsetting my children. That’s important to me.”
As you get older, knowing when to accept the changes that aging brings, and when to push yourself to do things on your own, is sometimes challenging to gauge. “My callers give me great advice,” Monica reports. “I tell them about my plans for the day, and they give me tips on how to tackle what’s on my list. It’s nice to have that objective point of view.”
A dedicated volunteer for years at both the Toronto General Hospital’s first AIDS Clinic and at the Milton District Hospital’s Constant Care ward, Monica knows firsthand how important it is to persevere.
“I tell all my friends in my building, you have to keep going. If you can walk, you should put your shoes on and walk. If you need help with meals, ask for it. Find ways to keep your brain going. If you want to live independently you have to work at it, but it doesn’t mean you can’t accept help.”