Seniors attending adult day services (ADS) in Williams Lake said they appreciate the mental stimulation, socialization and good food the program offers.
The ADS runs Monday to Friday on the main floor of Deni House, with bus services provided by Cariboo Memorial Hospital.
“I really enjoy the activities they have for us and meeting new people,” said Yvonne Carpenter who started attending in August 2013.
As the Lunar New Year was approaching, Carpenter and the other seniors were making paper lanterns to decorate the meeting room.
By attending the program two days a week, she said she gives her husband Ted a break as he is her main caregiver.
Eleanor Wyness moved to Williams Lake from Chilliwack to be closer to her son.
“I love coming here,” she said. “They are very special and they keep us laughing and everything all of the time. And they make us think.”
Digging into a bag she brought with her, Wyness brought out a framed certificate from when she was was named Adventist Woman of the Year in 1995 for her community service for efforts overseas.
“I travelled to different churches doing seminars - the churches sent clothing and supplies to a warehouse in Hope and then we shipped one million pounds overseas,” she recalled, noting through her work she met lots of people and made a lot of friends.
Sondra Giske had a stroke a year ago last October and said she enjoys the program and appreciates the activity workers.
“They are compassionate and caring. It is good for people like us to get out and do brain exercises and crafts. It helps a lot.”
Sometimes they go for picnics outdoors and bus trips, which Giske also appreciates.
Stu Fraleigh, who started McDonald’s in Williams Lake with his wife Barb, said the activity workers really know what they are doing.
“You can kid them about anything. It is very easy to find a place here - you feel comfortable.”
Leonard Uri moved to Williams Lake in 1987 to work at Boitanio Mall. He has been attending ADS for about a year and appreciates the encouragement he receives there.
“It gets you out of the house - otherwise you can feel pretty isolated. I’ve made friends in the group,” he said.
A chartered professional accountant, he still works a bit - about 10 per cent of what he used to - and plays games on the computer such as solitaire, corresponds by email and looks at the news to keep his mind active at home.
Virginia Kirkham enjoys meeting and talking with people.
“The bus driver and everybody are so kind. They will explain things if you want to know something.”
She also enjoys the outings, the crafts and sharing a meal with everybody.
Kirkham loves to work with her hands making baby quilts.
“That’s my hobby. I love working with colour and there is always somebody having a baby. As long as I can see I have a reason to get up in the morning.”
Besides, she said, it’s nice for a baby to have its own quilt.
Joyce Schellenberg has been attending ADS for about six months and said she has had health issues more recently.
Akin to Kirkham, she likes to work with her hands doing crafts.
“At home I like to quilt, sew, knit and crochet.”
She said she spends a lot of time alone so coming to the program means she gets to enjoy seeing people and doing things.
“I definitely encourage other people to come to the program,” she said.
An Interior Health Authority spokesperson said the purpose of ADS is to maintain independence for clients by allowing them to live in community while also supporting and providing respite for the client’s caregiver and family.
The program is designed for people who may have complex medical conditions that require medical monitoring, be frail, related to aging or other medical conditions, be at risk of physical or mental decline due to social isolation, have a caregiver that would benefit from a break in their caregiving role, be at risk of losing independence and wish to remain living in their home or had several recent hospital admissions and would benefit from intensive monitoring and support.
Aside from coffee and a snack at the start of each program, lunch is also provided every day.
Joining ADS requires a phone call to Home Health. A Home Health Care Manager will begin the assessment for suitability for the program. For information, call 1-800-707-8550 or visit https://www.interiorhealth.ca/services/adult-day-services.