2-rita_low-resWhether a friend, parent or spouse, losing a loved one is a devastating experience. For Rita Greham-Benjamin, the day her husband passed away was the day her life completely changed. She didn’t just lose her husband—she lost her best friend.

“I missed Alfred in so many ways, but I especially missed his company,” says the 79-year-old. “I got used to sitting at home alone. I knew I needed to find something that would make the transition of life without him easier.”

Despite research showing that seniors who participate in social activities are more likely to report positive health and well-being, one-fifth of all seniors in Canada are like Rita—left to struggle through daily life alone.

That’s why United Way invests generous donor support to help break through this isolation and help seniors live healthy, independent lives. We fund agencies that provide critical support through community-based programs, including meals on wheels, home visits, social and recreational activities, and arts and cultural programs.

 For Rita, she found exactly what she was looking for because of your gift—a seniors centre close to home offering a range of programs and services.

“It opened my eyes to all the things that I could still do,” she says.

Today, Rita visits the agency almost every weekday. You can find her taking exercise classes, playing card games and doing crafts.

And, her connection to the community continues to grow. Recently, she decided to volunteer at the agency, helping people with Alzheimer’s in the adult day program with meals and activities.

“I wanted to give back to an agency that has given me so much,” says Rita. “The friends I’ve made here are not just within these walls. There’s always someone just a phone call away.”

Indeed, it’s these friendships that have truly changed Rita’s life in a way she could have never imagined.

“I didn’t think I could enjoy life this much after my husband’s passing,” says Rita. “This place gives me a sense of living again.”