Due to the impact of the COVID-19 pandemic, seniors and those in care homes and retirement facilities have been suffering from the lack of social and emotional connection. It has been very difficult for my brother and I to imagine what our seniors are going through, but the thought of them feeling sad and alone has led us to build a community service project, Canes for a Change.

Our project is a way to bring attention to the needs of our seniors including their safety and mobility. It also highlights society’s need for youth to engage with our seniors, care and respect them as they are a valuable part of our communities. Canes for a Change provides new canes for free to those who require a mobility aid, or exchange of their old, unsafe and worn out cane.

We have developed a contactless method of providing canes that is COVID-19 safe while hosting events as well as contactless delivery to senior homes, independent living centres and facilities throughout the Lower Mainland. This small act of kindness ensures seniors and others in need of a new cane, the opportunity to obtain a brand new, safe and reliable product to help their mobility for free. We have hosted The Drive-Thru Cane Exchange, in Burnaby and Vancouver this past August and September with help from many student volunteers. Both events were great successes as over 200 canes were exchanged and the response from attendees was extremely positive.

The participants included the media, families with seniors and many seniors that were happy to exchange an old cane for a new one. Many expressed their gratefulness for the ability to receive a new and safe cane for free. Being able to ignite a smile on a senior’s face and experience their gratitude while keeping them safe, by possibly preventing a slip or fall, has been an amazing experience that we will continue to provide the community in the future.

For more information, please visit our Instagram and Facebook pages @canesforachange.

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