The Adult Day Program at Providence Healthcare, one of only two of its kind in Ontario to be open around the clock, is a place where adults living at home with cognitive impairment or dementia can come to the hospital site during the day for social and recreational programming, as well as personal care and assistance. The program is even open for overnight stays of up to 14 days for enrolled members.

For the loved ones who care for them at home, the program also affords them the flexibility and time to run errands, or just have a break and simply recharge.

Recently, after a 3-year pandemic pause, the Adult Day Program at Providence took time to recognize and celebrate these caregivers with its Strawberry Social, an outdoor picnic on the grounds of Providence with music, dancing, a band, photos, and of course: sweet treats. More than 60 clients and caregivers mingled in the garden.

The Adult Day Program team preparing strawberry treats for the Strawberry Social caregiver event. The team has been holding caregiver events for more than 10 years.

Providence, located in Scarborough, is a site of Unity Health Toronto that specializes in rehabilitation, palliative care and community programs. It also has a 288-bed long-term care home on the grounds.

“Caregivers are a very important part of our program and the Adult Day Program has been holding caregiver events, such as the Strawberry Social for more than 10 years,” says Shawna Funston, Patient Care Manager, Specialized Geriatrics Services and Adult Day Program at Providence.

One of the clients, Louise, arrived with her daughter, who said the celebration was a great way to get to know the people her mother spends time with two days a week. 

Louise (left), a client with the Adult Day Program (ADP), came to the event with her daughter who says what her mother enjoys most about the ADP is the opportunity to socialize and talk with people.

“I just liked the energy and to see my mom there,” she says. “The fact that so many people came up and hugged her and the staff told me how much they like her – it just makes me feel good to know my mom enjoys her days there.”

Louise’s daughter said she noticed her mother’s dementia began to accelerate during the pandemic with the increased isolation.

“My mom will say herself that she is a people person and she needs people to talk to. The ADP gives me a chance to do the things I need to do knowing my mom is taken care of and enjoying herself.”

The Adult Day Program team says events like these allow caregivers to get a sense of the team and see the space, as well as meet with other caregivers and realize they are not alone in their experience. 

The team normally plans two events per year to bring caregivers and clients together – one in the summer and one at Christmas and always with a theme, which in the past has included Pineapple Palooza, Banana Bonanza, Lemon Lime Luau, White Christmas and Christmas Around the World.

Louise and her daughter are already looking forward to the next event.

“It was really nice to see where my mom spends her day and to see the staff together so energized and dancing was wonderful.”

By Danielle Pereira. Photos by Yuri Markarov


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