GRAND FALLS-WINDSOR, NL – Any potential adult care centre is still a long way off, but the need for more care options for seniors is evident in the community.
“It’s an excellent idea,” said seniors advocate and member of the provincial Advisory Council on Aging and Seniors Cecilia Hickey after a public meeting April 10, held to help in the needs assessment process for the centre. “There are so many caregivers who are struggling, and they really got nowhere to go.”
The dozen or so people in attendance at Conservation Place heard that an adult care centre is typically a service offered to older adults and the people who take care of them on weekdays during working hours. While some have a more medical focus, the proposition for a Grand Falls-Windsor centre is more about socializing for the individuals in the program, and respite for their caregivers. There could be programs ranging from arts and crafts, to gardening, exercise sessions and much more.
People at the meeting asked about who would be eligible to use the centre, as well as how youth could be involved as volunteers. Chelsea Quinlan, a doctoral resident in clinical psychology who has been conducting the needs assessment on behalf of the municipality, said the centre would be meant for older adults who are losing structure in their day-to-day lives, or who have a diagnosis of cognitive or neurological impairments.
Beyond helping seniors and the people who love them, such a centre is also meant to delay admission into long-term care, thereby saving the health system money.
“We want to make this work,” Quinlan said. “We want to see this adult care centre up and running.”
At this point, the project is only in the planning stages. Quinlan said she would be delivering her needs assessment report to the municipality within the next two weeks, and hoped that further plans would be formed in the coming months.
“The next step after that would be to organize a steering committee,” she said. “And start forming partnerships and fundraising.”
The only adult care centre in the province right now is run by Western Health in Bay St. George. Quinlan said that an overview of adult care centres in Canada and abroad has shown that costs range between $10 and $30 per day per person, and that 20 or so spaces might be appropriate for a community like Grand Falls-Windsor.
Hickey said she thinks the number of potential spaces is about right, though it is difficult to gauge that kind of need at this juncture. This is the kind of thing, she said, that could grow very popular once it is up and running.
“I really think there’s a great need for this in this community,” she said. “I hope it comes to happen.”