The community helps me preserve my dignity

by Myriam

After the war, I came to Canada. It was ’48. I was a Holocaust survivor. I learned that my sister was alive and lived in Canada. I wrote to her and she told me to come. I was worried about coming because my husband and I didn’t have a trade. And we had a three year old daughter. But we came. Finally, I got a job at a factory and my husband painted outside. I worked until six every day, then came home and made supper and then was up until two keeping house, only to get up again at seven the next day to do it all over again. But slowly, slowly, we made it.

Now, I am 91 years old. My daughter lives here in Montreal and has three sons who live inToronto. But they have their own lives. I can’t expect them to hold my hand. Someone told me not to be so proud. They told me I was getting old, I could get some support. So I asked for help.

A social worker came to my house. I really, really appreciate the help, really very much. Every Monday a woman comes to clean the house. Thursday, someone comes to help me with the shopping. And I have a lady on Friday who gives me a shower and cooks something for the week so it’s ready to eat. I’m getting a lot of help – food coupons, transportation tickets from the Holocaust Fund. I have a young visitor, a volunteer, who comes when she can. She is lovely; she is a good friend and good company. She is wonderful. I must say I wouldn’t make it without all of them.

I go to two clubs at the Cummings Centre. I go to the Tikvah on Wednesdays. It’s a nice, intimate group where we do music and activities and have lunch. And I go to the Shalom Club once a week. They bring in sometimes speakers and sometimes they have entertainment. And you meet people. That is a lot.

One day I was washing my face when the phone rang. I just turned my head and I don’t know what happened. I fell. I broke three ribs. My social worker was here for me the whole time. They came to visit often, every few days. They made sure I had food and was okay. I really felt the community with me then.

What else can I say? I’m happy. And I appreciate it. I can go out and that is my pleasure because I meet people. What could I ask for more?

More than 2,500 frail seniors, many of whom are Holocaust survivors, receive homecare services. Last year, there was a 45% increase in demand for these services. 

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