A 92-year-old man is feeling hopeless and forgotten. Edmund Stefan has been living alone in a trailer. His family lives a province away.
“For a long, long time I have been here by myself.”
He is battling a failing memory and the feeling of isolation. “It’s the loneliness that gets you going. You live alone, can’t remember anything. As long as you are with people, you’re concentrating on what you see…but being in your own home, day in and day out…the winter is the worst part.”
Stefan fell victim to a break-in while he was asleep. He says his drivers license and important paperwork was stolen. With a smashed-in window and broken door, Stefan says it’s hard to heat his home.
Money has also run out. Stefan used all of his savings on living expenses.”How can we live on a little pension of $1000 a month? You can’t. The rent is high, food is high.”
Sometimes, the darkness takes over. “I just want to wipe myself out because I don’t know how I am going to live.”
A week ago, staff at the Fire Pit Cultural Drop-In Centre set Stefan up at the mens shelter.
“We worry about him,” says the Elder Advisor of the Centre, Violet Bozoki.”He’s 92-years-old, what’s he going to do? Walk the streets? He can’t hear very well. He could get hit by a car.”
Bozoki says far too many seniors are falling through the cracks. “There’s not much support for seniors or elders in the community. We have quite a few seniors that come in here everyday and stay all day.”
The Fire Pit is working with BC Housing to get Stefan into a low-income apartment.
“Hopefully he will be in there in the new year,” says Bozoki.
In the meantime, company helps him fight the darkness. “I don’t know how I am going to live, but I have met a lot of good people since I have gotten into here [the Fire Pit].”