Program offers community, fun
I’m not sure what to expect as I enter the auditorium at Hyland Crest on Thursday morning to check out the Adult Day Program. Little in the title indicates the true meaning of the work that goes on there. All I can assume as I walk into the room is that there will be adults and it is daytime.
I’m not trying to be flippant; for those of us who don’t have a senior or person with special needs in our care, programs like these don’t really register. I’m embarrassed to say, before Thursday’s visit, I thought the ADP included a mixture of physical therapy and snacks.
I was only a little bit right.
In the hour or so I spent at ADP we played basketball, reminisced about times gone by, I checked out crafts the group was working on and finished off my time with some stretching and exercises just as lunch was about to be served.
Recreation therapist Jamie Allen-Russell explains that each day starts out with a social session where the program’s attendees can catch up with one another. One of the activities during this time includes reading a newsletter called The Daily Chronicle, which includes famous people’s birthdays, trivia, and “on this date” and other light, fun tidbits.
I arrived just as this part of the day was wrapping up. About eight or 10 people were in the room – most sitting on living room furniture arranged at one side of the space. Sheila, a volunteer with ADP, was busy in the kitchen cleaning up. Activationist Lee Turner was at a card table covered in mason jars and paper clippings preparing the afternoon’s craft: centrepieces with words such as “food” and “family” glued into the jars.
I got there just in time for basketball to begin.
Staff set up a mini-basketball arcade game in the middle of the room and the other participants and I took a seat waiting for the game to begin. We each took turns saddling up to the edge with our mini-b-balls and shooting for the double hoops. It was surprisingly difficult.
As we waited our turn, Joan, one of the participants, leaned over to me.
“Too bad this wasn’t volleyball,” she said. That was her sport back in high school. Give her a volleyball net and she’d be dominating the ADP scoreboard.
My first try at the line had a touch of beginner’s luck after I sunk a few baskets. The next time up was all misses. But neither the good nor the bad seemed to matter. The participants and staff behind me cheered as the ball went every which way.
Staff and participants joked with one another in a warm, fun atmosphere.
After the game wrapped up we put chairs in a circle for an exercise session. Jamie led the group with gentle stretches and balance postures, plus some faster movements to get the blood circulating. Exercise routines are built into the structure of ADP, with some done each day.
Participants range in age from people in their 40s to their 90s, Lee explained. People come for a chance to be social with community members, to learn new things, to stay active and to give caregivers respite during the day.
The program runs 8:30 a.m. to 4:30 p.m. Monday to Friday with Monday, Tuesday and Thursday in Minden and Wednesday and Friday in Haliburton.
Jamie said she is nearing her one year anniversary with the program in Minden and has found it incredibly rewarding.
“I love it,” she says. “I don’t find this work. I look forward to coming in.”
For more information on CSS’s Adult Day Program, call 705-457-2941.