Building friendships at Carefor’s virtual day program
Shortly after its official launch in January of 2020, our Young Onset Dementia program was suspended amid the COVID-19 lockdown. The Club is the first of its kind of program in Ottawa for people living with Young Onset Dementia, which affects individuals aged 65 and under.
While normally our ten participants would be getting together for a weekly day of fun and exercise at Carleton University, they’re still keeping their spirits up online.
One of the highlights of Day Program Team Leader Carolyn Puderer’s week is chatting with her Young Onset Dementia group: “They’re very uplifting to be around. When I leave the conversation, my cheeks hurt from smiling so much.”
The participants meet several times a week to stay socially connected and active amid the outbreak, which helps to improve their quality of life and slow the advancement of the disease.
“Everyone is so positive and upbeat. We still get to exercise and have a good laugh. I look forward to our virtual meetings. There’s never a dull minute,” Club member Angela says.
It’s not only staff and participants that are reaping the benefits of the virtual day program, caregivers are also grateful for the extra support and see this moment as a highlight of their loved one’s day.
“I enjoy being in the background and listening to the wonderful rapport that has developed between staff and participants,” Carol, a caregiver, says. “It is comforting to know, that despite their disease, everyone is comfortable in the setting and has been able to bond together.”
It is estimated that 16,000 Canadians and approximately 2,000 local residents are living with Young Onset Dementia. It is through these high-quality health care programs that people living with Young Onset Dementia can feel supported in their own community.