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Gordena at the Adult Day Program in Carleton Place

Meet Gordena, an Almonte senior working hard to maintain her independence and stay in her own home.  She attended the Almonte General Hospital Day Hospital in 2011/12 for therapy, and when her goals were achieved, she was referred to the Adult Day Program, run by the Alzheimer Society of Lanark County, so that she could maintain her physical, cognitive and social skills through this regular activity. One and a half years later, she continues to travel to Carleton Place, at a cost of $29/ week through the Mills transportation services, to attend the Day Program twice a week.  Recently, Gordena and her family described the benefits she has received by attending the program. They reported “Significant contributions to overall well-being through social interaction during tea, lunch, exercise, arts and crafts, baking, games, music and education.”  In addition, they noted “increased mobility through exercise and other hand/eye coordination activities,” and “activities that support and improve memory/mind health.”  They also mentioned that the program “energizes participants through fun and laughter” and “allows family members to continue working, feeling confident their loved one is receiving quality care/guidance/stimulation.”

Caregivers/Families significantly benefit from the respite provided by having their loved one spend a full day away from home, so that they can recharge their batteries, get errands done, or look after their own needs, while knowing that their spouse or parent is well-looked after, enjoying their day and maintaining important skills.  These “days off” go a long way to helping families cope with the challenges they face in trying to care for their loved one at home.

Social and recreational programs are very important to support the well-being of our seniors, especially the frail elderly.    The Alzheimer Society Adult Day Program is offered in Carleton Place 2 days per week, and this program provides an opportunity for clients to socialize, get general exercise and cognitive and social stimulation.  This program is at capacity, serving 10 clients per day, and has a waiting list of 16 clients. This translates to a range of 8 months to 2 years on the waiting list, as clients are discharged only when they can no longer manage in the program, or get placed into Long Term Care.   Many of their clients, like Gordena, travel to the program from Almonte, incurring costs for transportation, or taking respite time away from caregivers to drive them over. Currently in Almonte, the only social programs available are 1-2 hour activities, such as Music and Memories, Diners Clubs and occasional outings, offered through The Mills, which don’t provide enough respite for the caregivers of the participants.

Recently, local health care providers partnered together when they recognized the need for a local Day Program in Almonte.  This need was recognized when health care professionals and community care workers were identifying clients who were declining due to decreases in activity and social isolation, as well as tired and stressed caregivers who weren’t getting enough breaks.  In spite of two proposals being turned down, the group continues to work towards the goal of obtaining funding for this program.  This program will provide a much needed service in the Almonte community, decrease the cost of transportation in having to travel to the program in Carleton Place and allow caregivers/families more time to rest. It will also free up spaces in the Carleton Place program for Carleton Place residents to attend, some who have been waiting for close to a year.

Local health care providers have teamed up to identify the need, the community has the space to offer this program, the Alzheimer Society has the experience and expertise to run it, local transportation is available – all we need is funding to set the program in motion.  A third proposal will be sent to the Champlain LHIN (Local Health Integration Network) for funding at the next available opportunity.

How can you help?  If you support the idea of having an Adult Day Program in Almonte, take action by calling the Mills Home Support office (613-256-4700) or the Alzheimer Society (1-800-511-1911) to let them know that you are on-board.  A list of supporters will be kept by these offices to show community support for the application for funding.  Please lend your support!!