Comfort Life - Your guide to retirement & care

At 90, he's still a super volunteer

By any standard, Jerry Crowe is a super volunteer. Crowe, 90, had lent his skills to volunteer work for most of his adult life, so when he moved into a seniors' residence in 1999, he wasn't about to break the habit.

"I had my nose into most everything - sports, plays, you name it," the retired banker recalls, and "it didn't take too long" after he arrived at Erin Mills Lodge in Mississauga to become involved in an impressive new roster of volunteer jobs.Z

Take a deep breath. Here's just some of what Crowe contributes to life in and out of the residence:

  • He helps teach Canadian history by talking to youngsters about his experiences in the ferry command in the Second World War
  • An avid bridge player, he has taught bridge at other seniors' residences
  • The Post Office won't deliver mail to boxes unless it has a box number on it, so five days a week Crowe picks up such mail at the Erin Mills Lodge reception desk and delivers it to its intended recipients
  • Last year, he was the second-highest fundraiser in the Region of Peel.

Many seniors accustomed to being active in community life continue to
volunteer their skills after the move to a seniors' residence or long-term care centre.

The National Survey of Giving, Volunteering and Participating found that non-profit organizations depend heavily on a small core of older Canadians who give 40 per cent of all volunteer hours.

"Most facilities of any kind, from hospitals to libraries, couldn't function without their senior volunteers," says Shirley Dymtruk of Washago, president of United Senior Citizens of Ontario, which represents about 300,000 members of 900 clubs.

She says volunteering is "excellent for the senior, who gets out and about and keeps the mind working, thinking and learning, and for certain it's a benefit for the organizations."

Comfort Life lists numerous Mississauga retirement homes.

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