“It’s a wonderful program for the community,” says Pam Mann, nurse administrator at the Campbell River and District Adult Care Society, seated at the desk in her small office just off the foyer.
Across the hall, there’s the murmur of conversation, punctuated by periodic laughter, indicative of a sizeable group of people pleasantly sharing each others’ company.
The society is about to celebrate its 40th anniversary of serving seniors in our community, but it’s looking towards the future, as well.
More on that in a minute.
The society began modestly, in the basement of a local church, and has grown over the years into the entity is today, increasing its programming alongside the commuity’s increased need for it.
The society now resides on the property of the Forde House – also home to the Willow Point Supportive Living Society – on Larwood Road in Willow Point and its services have expanded to now allow for both a morning and afternoon social club at the facility, along with its popular outings and trips for local seniors.
“When I first started 10 years ago, we only had 10 to 15 clients in here,” Mann says, “but there was clearly a need in the community, and I came from nursing for 20 years, working with people with dementia and older adults. My whole scope of practice was working in geriatrics. So I turned the focus here into prevention – how to prevent all the small infections, putting out small fires that happen sometimes, fall prevention – and educating seniors on all the ways to help them stay at home longer and safer.”
In an attempt to do that, Mann and her team started putting on what she calls, “little workshops,” where local seniors could learn ways to take better care of themselves. Those workshops soon blossomed into a full-on social club.
“These days we have between 38 and 40 people every day,” she says.
It’s not all classes and workshops, either. Some days they have local volunteer musicians come in and there’s singing and dancing. Some days they play horseshoes. Some days they do bowling.
“Every day is different,” Mann says. “You can’t predict what’s going to happen when you come here. You never get bored.”
And it makes a difference.
“Within a few weeks you see a huge difference,” Mann says. “Even family members notice a difference right away in their mental well-being, their physical well being. It makes a difference to these people when they’re going somewhere that they get a hot meal – maybe the only one they get that day – and they’re welcomed at the door, and they get a hug, and they make friends.”
On Friday this week, as part of their 40th anniversary, they’ve sold 80 tickets for the celebration and fundraiser, and the hall will be filled with live music, food and drink, and a wonderful energy.
They will also, officially, announce an expansion of their programming.
“Our bigger goal for the community is to one day be able to be accessible to all the seniors,” Mann says. “Not everybody can get to the program, so right now we’re starting a mobile program where we will go hold sessions in Black Creek at Halbe Hall to give seniors in that community an opportunity to come to the program.”
So for the next six months, on Mondays, Wednesdays and Fridays, a bus will head out and collect seniors along the way and in the area and run a similar program for the afternoon. Anyone interested in being a part of that program should contact the centre at 250-923-0991.
They’re hoping, eventually, to receive a donation of land somewhere so they can open a facility that will be accessible to everyone, as they’re running out of space for their growing programs.
But for now, they’ll make whatever difference they can in the lives of the seniors they serve, as they’ve always done for the past 40 years.
For more on the society, visit cradultcare.com