By Jennie Stephenson, Communications & Fundraising Specialist – Eastern Counties
As we age, it is important to stay socially active in our day to day living. The Carefor Adult Day Program (ADP) has made staying connected from home easier by keeping its members engaged with both online and in-person activities.
Clinton O’Connor has been a member of the ADP program in Finch for two and a half years. During this time, he formed strong bonds with the leaders and members of the group through exercises, activities, and socializing. However, members of the program and their caregivers experienced great change when programming moved online in March 2020 due to COVID-19.
To keep members connected and active, programs coordinators Sheryl and Natacha sourced online platforms including Zoom and Mercuri. They worked in collaboration with The Good Companions to share programs with the goals of keeping members engaged and giving caregivers much needed respite. Sheryl explained, “In the very beginning we found that some of our members went into panic mode, and we knew they were going to be very isolated. We needed to come up with a solution that would work well for the members and caregivers from home.”
To ease the learning curve in moving online, Sheryl and Natacha connected with families of members and worked together as a family activity. “It has opened up a new world for them. We had one member’s grandson set up her Zoom and then taught her how to use it. We were helping out online, but he was able to be there hands on. I think that’s pretty special. And now she’s big into it, and he’ll still pop in and do exercises with us every once in a while,” Sheryl shared.
Cathy, Clinton’s wife, is thankful for the program and how it makes Clinton stay engaged with its members. “He loves the Zoom. Zoom is fantastic. It allows him to do his exercise program, and his leader has arranged it so he focuses on exercising and staying physical,” said Cathy.
While Clinton participates in his exercises and other programming, Cathy takes the opportunity to unwind before taking on the day. She explained, “Clint is on there for 40 minutes. I can sit outside and enjoy a cup of tea and the breeze. We all need to breathe.”
Clinton looks forward to seeing his friends online, and occasionally, Sheryl in socially distanced porch visits. Clinton shared, “I’m the type of guy when I meet someone I either like them or I don’t, and Sheryl is a sharp lady and a great person. She’s so good with anyone having troubles. You can count on her. She’s a best friend.”
As we continue onward with uncertainty of what tomorrow will bring, Cathy can rest assured Clint and other members of ADP are well taken care of and staying connected with the world beyond their home. “They’re connected. We all need the connection. If you’re not connected to a person, living on an island isn’t fun. We need each other, and that has been made possible,” Cathy shared.
Carefor’s Adult Day Programs are a lifeline for hundreds of people and their loved ones in Eastern Counties. Carefor is proud to be at the forefront of ensuring the health and wellbeing of people living with dementia and their care partners, today and into the future.
You can help us keep people like Clinton and Cathy connected at home by giving at carefor.ca/donate.