When my parents moved in with me in a 2 bedroom in January, things started to settle down finally.
I enrolled them in the Language Instruction for New Comers, a program intended to help new comers with getting jobs and/or integrating Canadian society.
I did not enrol them for them to get a job, but I did enrol them to give them something to do.
And it has given me even more than expected.
First, the classes gave their days some structure.
Before they were enrolled, they would wake up whenever they felt like it and the rest of their day would flow accordingly, with them having lunch at 4pm sometimes. By being enrolled in a 9:00 to 2:30pm class, their days were regimented by their commitment to attending the classes. It gave them just enough freedom after school, to go to the library or to Chinatown to pick up some groceries for dinner before they had to return home. They even have homework to fill their afternoons before dinner time.
Second, the Ukrainian centre where the classes are held is about 2km from home. My parents found out that it will take them at least 30 minutes one way to get there, 45 minutes if they take their time. That was for me, the best way to ensure that they will get at least 1 hr of walking every day. After seeing how my grandmother's mobility decreased due to inactivity, I loved it when they said they don't mind the walk and even walked in the harsh Canadian weather. With the right boots and jackets, they did not complain much even when the weather was really, really bad.
Something to talk about
Last, but not least, the classes gave them something to talk about at dinner time.
When before they would assault me with questions about my day as soon as I walked through the door, we are now all in the same state of mind when I get home. By the time we sit down for dinner, we are all ready to share how our day went, and instead of not having much to say, now they both cheerily share what their teachers have said, or what they have learned at school that day.
In addition to all the above, the classes gave both of them a small circle of friends to socialize with on a daily basis. My parents were put in different levels and therefore do not spend the whole day together, which definitely has its own benefits.
They were hooked from the very first week. They look forward to learning and spending the day at the Ukrainian centre. Whenever they have to skip classes to go to doctor's appointments, I feel their regret about having to miss school, so now I make sure that, when possible, doctor's appointments are made in the afternoon so that they would only miss a couple of hours of their classes.
Yes, these classes have been good, not only for my parents, but for me as well.
And the best is that they are free to stay in these classes for as long as they wish, until they become Canadian citizens!