Day program for seniors has come full circle

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I must commend Ms. Dawne Fowler (Gazette, Jan. 13) “Day program for seniors wanted.” I hope that her effort is not too difficult. In the 1980s I was the only person employed at the St. Albert Seniors Club. My job was outreach and I quickly realized we needed a social day program – to bring in those who were isolated at home, to provide respite for care givers.
Like Ms. Fowler everyone told me that it was a good idea but no one really wanted to officially fund it because at that time the health sector in St. Albert wanted to have a medical day program at the hospital. So I went ahead, made presentations and received support from local fundraising groups and help from the seniors club and many wonderful volunteers. I hired a coordinator to develop the programming and by 1987 when I moved on, I left behind a program which had expanded to two days and was receiving support from FCSS.
Yes, we had some people with memory issues, some with other chronic conditions but they all needed the mental and emotional support of such a program.
I was very sad to learn a year or so ago that the program was shut down because it didn’t meet the funding criteria. Will health care come through with funding for a social model? The City of St. Albert through FCSS clearly does not see such a program as a social need or asset.
We seem to have come full circle. I wish Ms Fowler all the best.
Elizabeth Allchin, St. Albert
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