Mary, a 74-year-old woman with dementia, was referred to SSSBC by Older Adult Community Mental Health New Westminster (OACMH-NW). Independent despite her condition, Mary enjoyed going for walks in the afternoon and doing her own grocery shopping.

Things changed when the COVID-19 pandemic struck; suddenly, Mary, like many seniors in Canada, was asked to stay at home as much as possible. With no family nearby, Mary’s mental health began to decline due to a lack of interaction. Her inability to shop for groceries because of the lockdown meant her cupboards began to empty with no respite in sight. Mary’s mental health caseworker reached out to SSSBC, who assigned a volunteer Amy, to assist Mary with her grocery shopping, and provide a friendly contact.

Due to Mary’s mental health, things did not go well initially, with Mary struggling to accept a stranger into her life. However, with patience and time, Mary’s case managers and the SSSBC Program Coordinator worked with Mary to introduce Amy slowly, allowing Mary to become comfortable with Amy’s presence and abilities. After two weeks, Mary was familiar enough with Amy to allow her to do the grocery shopping and delivery, as well as engage in small conversation.

Their relationship continues to this day, providing Mary with an important lifeline during the pandemic, and giving Amy the opportunity to make a difference in the life of another person.