June 11, 2016 - 1:30 PM
Hank Heppner is 86 years old. He’ll turn 87 later this month. His wife, Doris, is also 86 and has suffered from Alzheimer’s disease for the past seven years. With Doris in the later stages of the disease, Hank has to keep a constant eye on her.
“I have to watch her all the time,” he says. “She could walk out and wander away or turn on appliances and forget about them.”
Hank says it’s exhausting work, but he’s grateful for the support he gets from local health services, like Interior Health’s (IH) adult day program at Hawthorne Park in Kelowna. Doris has participated in the program for the past six years.
Adult day programs like Hawthorne Park are designed for seniors who may have physical and/or memory challenges or are living with a chronic illness. They play a key role in supporting seniors by enhancing their level of physical, social and emotional function. They also support caregivers like Hank by providing a safe place for their loved ones to be looked after during the day.
Doris used to attend the program on Mondays, Tuesdays and Thursdays. Now, thanks to $28,000 in funding, IH has expanded the program from five days to six days a week, so Doris also attends on Saturdays.
“We have this extra day on Saturday, which works out well for me because I like to do yard work outside and I don’t like leaving her inside by herself,” says Hank. “I’m thankful for this extra day and the entire program. The staff members are very caring. They don’t just do a job--they do it well.”
In addition to expanding Hawthorne Park’s program, IH also opened a new adult day program this past March for residents of West Kelowna called Providence Vista. The new program was made possible by $122,000 in IH funding and a partnership with The Society of Hope, who provided the location for the program.
Like Hawthorne Park, Providence Vista offers a variety of activities seniors can participate in such as fitness, music therapy, carpet bowling and crafts, along with a hot meal. The program also created two new permanent part-time caregiver positions.
Providence Vista provides services to seniors four days a week, Monday to Thursday from 8:30 a.m. to 4 p.m. Hawthorne Park offers services to seniors six days a week, Monday to Saturday from 8:30 a.m. to 4 p.m.
IH is focusing its resources on five key strategies that will shift the system away from hospitals and towards care provided in a community setting. One of these strategies is directed at improving primary and community care outcomes for frail seniors living with complex chronic conditions.
News from © InfoTel News Ltd, 2016