Barbara Wild at the day care program.

Beulah Gardens recognized for their great adult day centre

Beulah Gardens Homes, one of VCH’s affordable housing options, is located in the north-east corner of Vancouver. “We offer Independent and Assisted-Living services,” explains Heather Wright, Manager, Home Health. “Our goal is to provide the best quality of life in a safe, comfortable, and healthy community for residents. We also offer excellent Adult Day programs for our community members.” The daughter of someone who attends the adult day centre certainly agrees with that sentiment. “We received this letter and wanted to share it across Vancouver Community in recognition for all the great work done every day – at all our Contract Provider ADC sites,” adds Wright.

Dear Mr. Chapman and Ms. Wright,

I am writing to tell you how life-changing the Adult Day Centre at Beulah Gardens has been for my mother (Barbara Wild) and for her caregiver, and to commend the value of this program and other programs like it.

In 2015 my mother, then 86 years old, was suffering from disorientation, anxiety and isolation. She and her roommate were spiraling toward a crisis, and it was difficult to imagine how things were going to improve for them.

In 2016 my mother’s family doctor referred my mother to the Short Term Assessment and Treatment (STAT) program at Vancouver General Hospital. A team of professionals took the time to get to know my mother and to assess her needs from a number of standpoints. She was diagnosed with Alzheimer ’s disease. My mother’s roommate was acknowledged to be a caregiver in addition to being a friend and roommate, and was offered resources as well. Things were suddenly much better.

However when the STAT program ended after 13 weeks, my mother’s anxiety, dementia and depression began to escalate again. My mother’s caregiver was worried about returning to a routine with no respite, and feared being left with all the responsibility to meet my mother’s daily need for stimulation and community.

At this time my mother was referred to the Adult Day Centre at Beulah Gardens, where she has since attended three days a week.

My mother loves the program at Beulah Gardens. She feels welcomed, valued, respected, stimulated and part of a community. She is striking up friendships with people from other cultural backgrounds, even when their only means of shared communication is a smile, or a common experience in some activity within the program. It is my belief that my mother’s positive experience results from a well-thought-out program, good leadership, and competent staff.

It is easy to overlook the bravery of the elderly as they face the inexorable loss of abilities and status they once took for granted. The staff at Beulah Gardens meet that bravery with a quality program which, in my mother’s case, is making the difference between life being really good versus intolerable. I am sure this is also true for many other participants. My mother said to me once, “You know, we (the participants at Beulah) are all in desperate circumstances. That is why we are all there, every one of us.”

The program also provides respite for my mother’s caregiver. She gets an opportunity to care for herself, to connect with friends, and to have some time on her own. The value of this respite cannot be overstated.  The Adult Day Centre not only supports participants, but also their caregivers and families, enabling them to maintain stability in every part of their lives. The program is much more far-reaching than meets the eye.

It is my belief that without a program like the one my mother currently attends at Beulah Gardens, she would be in a hospital bed by now, suffering from accelerated dementia and depression. No longer able to share living expenses, my mother’s caregiver would have moved to subsidized housing, or worse. She would be experiencing increased illness from the stress of her own situation, and that of her dear friend and former roommate. Instead, however, these two women are living together with relatively little financial assistance, managing their own lives and health.

So if ever you doubt the value of the Adult Day Centre at Beulah Gardens, or are speaking to someone who questions the cost of providing such a program, please refer them to me. Looking in from the outside, you and your team are providing a very important service, saving tax payer’s money, and making a hugely positive difference in people’s lives.

Sincerely,

Anne Millerd

Salt Spring Island

 

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