“On the side of old people”

When Bennett Matthews was first introduced to Eldercare, she was appalled to learn that some residents in long-term care couldn’t afford dentures, hearing aid batteries, or even clothes. “I thought, that is so wrong. I instantly wanted to help.”

For the past few years, Bennett has supported Eldercare’s Resident-in-Need fund and the Adopt a Companion Pet program which aims to help reduce anxiety, loneliness and depression for long-term care residents. Her mother had dementia and spent the last three years of her life in a care home. “My mom would have loved to have a robotic pet companion; she would have carried it everywhere. I always think about my mum when I donate a cat.”

Bennett has also become a monthly donor, a way of giving that helps Eldercare better plan and budget for the rapidly growing needs of seniors across Vancouver Island. For Bennett, donating monthly is as easy as buying a daily cup of java. “How many millions of dollars do Canadians spend each day on going out for coffee,” she says. “As a relatively humane and well-off country, we should be able to afford shampoo or hearing aid batteries for our elders. It’s sad to think of them without these basic necessities.”

Bennett understands the challenges that many seniors face from chronic illness to social isolation to financial stress. “I know there are people who would like to retire but can’t afford to and that makes me feel so lucky. I didn’t have a very good start in life, and I could very easily have been unlucky. But I have enough money to live on and I like to pay it forward,” she says. “I have a strong urge to help,” she continues. “I’m shy and I’m not the sort of person to go out and volunteer or be around a lot of people, but I can help behind the scenes. That’s what I like to do, spread a few kitties around.”

Eldercare has raised funds to enhance long-term care, support aging in place, and invest in research and education to improve seniors’ care everywhere since 1982. Donors like Bennett believe that all seniors deserve the chance to age with dignity. “I feel very strongly that our society does not value the elderly enough and that really bothers me,” says Bennett. “I’m on the side of old people!”

Interested in learning more about how to become a monthly donor? Click here to learn more, call us at 250-370-5664 for more information, or set up your donation online.

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