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Day program boosts socialization, gives caregivers a break

October 30, 2019

Colouring book

Ann McLeod, 90, attends the Enhanced Respite Day Program three days a week at the Dr. W.R. Keir – Barrhead Continuing Care Centre. The day program gives her an opportunity to socialize and affords her husband and caregiver Ken a chance to take up old hobbies again.

Enhanced respite helps Barrhead seniors live at home longer

Story by Amy Crofts

BARRHEAD — For Ken McLeod, a day program for his wife Ann didn’t just give him a break, it’s also helped keep them at home, together.

Ann, 90, attends the Enhanced Respite Day Program three days a week at the Dr. W.R. Keir – Barrhead Continuing Care Centre.

“She loves the people and the activities,” says Ken. “When they go out on day trips, she loves watching out the window.”

Enhanced respite is an out-of-home day program for medically stable clients. It offers recreational activities such as music, art, crafts, games and exercise as well as basic personal care. Respite decreases social isolation and keeps clients engaged, allowing them to live at home longer. It also provides a break for caregivers.

“We go up across the river to Fort Assiniboine where I grew up,” adds Ann.

The Barrhead Enhanced Respite Day Program, which opened in October 2018, is offered Tuesday, Wednesday and Thursday every week from 9 a.m. to 4 p.m. The cost is $10 per visit to cover meals.

“Our goal is to provide clients the right care, in the right place at the right time, and for some individuals that means having home care assistance at their house while leaning on community supports,” says Jenny Nanninga, AHS Seniors Health manager.

At one point, Ken and Ann discussed moving into a continuing care facility.

“She likes to be in our own home, so we decided to stay a bit longer. Without this program, I don’t think we could stay as long as we have,” he adds.

With Ann at the day program, Ken has also been able to take up old hobbies again, including bowling, going for walks and curling.

“It’s a huge help and it gives me a little freedom,” he says.

The Enhanced Respite Day Program in Barrhead is one of six that has opened across the North Zone in the past year, in communities including Athabasca, Fairview, La Crete, Lac La Biche and High Prairie.

“Caregivers are an essential part of our society and sometimes they need a break,” says Nanninga. “We care for clients in their communities, while their caregivers get support and peace of mind that their loved ones are with AHS staff.”

If you’re currently a home care client and interested in the Enhanced Respite Day Program, please contact your case manager (Barrhead Home Care Office 780-674-4139). If you’re not a home care client, please contact the Continuing Care Access line at 1-855-371-4122 (toll-free).