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St. Joseph's Care Group

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Maintaining an Active Lifestyle While Living with Dementia

Client Visiting Garden
Client Visiting Garden

Date: 2019-06-18

For many of us, remaining at home for as long as possible is important. We want to stay connected to our community and our friends, and keep doing the activities that we enjoy. For those living with dementia, or are caring for a loved one with dementia, maintaining those community connections can be difficult. That’s where the Manor House Adult Day Program can help.

Located inside a century old mansion, the Manor House Adult Day Program has a welcoming, homelike feel where people enjoy a range of activities that help them with the skills needed to maintain a social and active lifestyle. That can range from puzzles and games, to music, baking, and physical activities to help with mobility and overall health. All activities are geared to the abilities of the participants.

John*, who has been with the program for about a year, was an avid cribbage player who stopped playing the game. According to his daughter, the people that he played with had nearly all passed away; he just lost interest. Since he began attending the Day Program, he’s playing again, and takes pride in helping other participants learn the game. John has a sense of purpose, and looks forward to getting on the Lift+ bus and coming to the Manor House to spend the day with his new friends. His daughter has seen improvement in his mood and memory, and the sparkle is back in his eyes.

Manor House
Manor House

Many participants say they were initially nervous about coming to the program, not knowing what to expect. According to Lisa Petersen, Manager of Specialized Geriatric Services with St. Joseph’s Care Group, “When you walk through the doors, you’re among friends. You have a space where you can relate to the other participants, and connect with people who are experiencing the same things that you are.” Peterson explains that while some clients are connected to the Adult Day Program during an assessment with St. Joseph’s Care Group’s Seniors Outpatient Services, many are referred by their primary care provider or even through self-referral (contact information below).

That’s great news for caregivers, who often struggle with the idea of having a loved one become part of a day program. “I thought that I was doing a pretty good job,” said Mary*, who was the sole caregiver for her husband of over 35 years. “It took me a long time before I was ready to reach out to the day program.” Mary found that it was taking more and more time to meet her husband’s growing needs. Her friends told her that they were worried because she rarely joined them at outings, something she’d enjoyed in the past, and was becoming more and more withdrawn. “I didn’t realize how much I needed respite until I actually had it. It’s a blessing to be able to go to an appointment, or visit a friend in hospital, knowing that my husband is in good hands and I don’t need to worry.”

Accessing services early is important both for people living with dementia, and for their caregivers. “We wish that more people would connect with us sooner,” reflected Lisa Petersen. “We know that people who remain socially connected, who maintain a sense of purpose and self-worth tend to have better health outcomes than people who are isolated.”

Space is currently available. To learn more about the program, please contact the Manor House Adult Day Program by calling (807) 768-4457.

*Names have been changed to protect identity

Fast Facts About the Manor House Adult Day Program
  • Engaging in meaningful activities is important for those living with dementia. Physical activity may slow the progression of dementia, prevent new health problems, help maintain function and mobility, and may reduce symptoms of depression.
  • Operated by St. Joseph’s Care Group, the Manor House Adult Day Program, about 140 people join the day program each year.
  • The program runs Monday through Saturday.
  • To access the Manor House Adult Day Program, call the North West Local Health Integration Network’s Home and Community Care Branch by calling (807) 345-7339.
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