I am Miriam. I came to live in The Redwood 8 years ago—fleeing violence from my adult son. When I came to live at the shelter, I was 84 years old. 84 years old! This is my story.
I was sponsored by my children to live in Canada, but with time, my son became very abusive financially—taking my tax refund without my consent, and forcing me to withdraw money from my account.
My neighbours became alarmed when they noticed I was often left outside the home for hours. Not having the keys to enter—sometimes under the heat of summer or in the cold of winter. One of myneighbours reported the case to an agency in the community. They took me to the community centre and a worker called the shelter to get me out of the abusive situation.
With time, I disclosed my son was physically abusive—shoving, pushing me. He was emotionally abusive. Yelling and diminishing me—his mother—and threatening to leave me on the street for good.
I am a very social senior who craves for company, purpose and safety. During my stay at the shelter, I received counselling in a warm setting.
Other women and their children started calling me “Grandma”, which made me happy and proud. I would love to sit in the TV room, surrounded by children who also gave love back to me.
I was able to fulfill my wish to be part of a family, no longer isolated, as my only contact with family was sporadic calls.
With the support of my worker at the shelter, I was able to get a unit in a seniors’ residence. I was able to receive resources, get transportation services for my errands and trips to church, and I was connected with reliable health support.
I lived in the shelter for over a year. Since I moved out, the shelter has been constantly in contact with me, supporting not only my needs but also advocating for me in the community. My worker continues to visit me. Her visits bring me a lot of joy, and feelings that I am no longer an abandoned elder.
Miriam’s Monologue is just one of the stories featured in ‘Your Impact Report 2019’.