ABOUT THE ELDERCARE FOUNDATION:
Since 1982 the Eldercare Foundation has donated over $9 million to support care for the elderly. For extended care residents, we’ve funded specialized equipment, planted over a dozen therapeutic gardens, purchased wheelchair-accessible vans for community outings, funded palliative care rooms, visiting areas and home-like enhancements, and provided funding for valuable programs like Music Therapy, Animal Assisted Therapy, entertainment and hands-on ‘arts in community’ programs for residents.
We have also provided program support and funding for community programs that help people stay in their own homes longer and provide respite for family caregivers.
Through our education awards and endowment program, we have funded continued education for care giving staff and research grants to promote enhanced quality of life for the elderly, both now and into the future.
THE PEOPLE, PLACES AND PROGRAMS WE SUPPORT:
Residential Care Facilities: Total = 731 people
The Eldercare Foundation directly supports over 700 people living in Victoria’s Aberdeen, Glengarry, Mt. Tolmie, Priory, Heritage Woods and Oak Bay Lodge care facilities. This where they live out their final stage of life. They are in one of these facilities because of their health care needs, not necessarily because of their financial need. Anyone can live out their final stage of life in one of these facilities.
- Average length of stay is 18 months – but some live with us much longer, especially if admitted when younger due to level of care needed.
- Average Age is 88 – but the age range is between 47 and 113
- 85% of residents have some form of dementia
- Over 90% are in wheelchairs and require assistance with personal needs such as toileting, bathing and eating.
- A large percentage of the residents participate in (and look forward to) entertainment and recreational therapy programs which are almost 100% funded by our generous donors. (ie: outings on the wheelchair accessible vans we purchased, entertainment & special celebrations like the family/resident BBQs, Music Therapy and Memory Café.)
HOME AND COMMUNITY CARE
In addition, we support seniors in our community and their families through programs such as the West Shore Adult Day Program, the Oak Bay Lodge Adult Day Centre, the Mobile Adult Day Program, the Community Bathing Program and the programs and resources offered at the Hillside Seniors Health Centre including the Piercy Respite Hotel and the Yakimovich Wellness Centre.
Community programs like the respite hotel, bathing and day programs enhance the lives of seniors who are being cared for in their own homes. These programs have the added benefit of providing family caregivers much-needed respite allowing them time to carry out their own errands, attend appointments or just relax. The Yakimovich Wellness Centre is a wonderful community resource for seniors and their families, providing education and social engagement opportunities.
OUR PARTNERSHIP INITIATIVES:
In addition to supporting elders, their families and our future professional caregivers through the Residential Care facilities, Home and Community Care programs and our Research and Education Awards program, our mandate also includes raising awareness and reaching further into the Vancouver Island community to help more people navigate their journey of aging. We’ve been strategically pursuing partnership opportunities with like-minded senior-focused groups and organizations in order to make a bigger impact without creating a bigger administrative/operational engine to feed or duplication of effort.
Our partnership initiatives are making an impact. They include:
Embrace Aging Month
March is Embrace Aging Month! This Eldercare initiative was established in 2006 and is designed to raise awareness about the wealth of resources available year-round in the community to help seniors and their families navigate and embrace the journey of aging. It is also a time to celebrate positive aging and spotlight elders in our community who are embracing their journey of aging in a positive way. Learn more about Embrace Aging here.
Vancouver Island Partnership for Aging Care (VIPAC)
In April 2010 we partnered with University of Victoria and Island Health to form the Vancouver Island Partnership for Aging Care. The main objective is to promote effective collaborative relations with respect to research, education and academic exchanges related to the health of older adults. In other words: research what we’re doing now, incorporate new technologies and care models, shape new education programs and affect changes in policy and practice, all with an aim of promoting excellence and innovation that will enhance the aging experience of seniors on Vancouver Island.
In September 2009, the Eldercare Foundation, in partnership with Oak Bay Lodge, the Rotary Club of Oak Bay and Oak Bay High School, launched an intergenerational program called “Memory Café”
The room is set ‘café style’, tea is served and the seniors and teens share their memories on a jointly selected topic such as ‘your first day of school’. At the end of the evening, the students recap what they’ve learned from their senior table-mates; often we are surprised by their creativity. We’ve had students instantaneously create songs, rap, skits, poems and other entertaining presentations to portray these shared memories.
This year, with help from the Government of Canada’s New Horizons for Seniors Program, we are expanding this program to bring in artists from the community, who will mentor the students in various art media. For more details, click here.
Senior Dialogue Project
In July 2010 the Eldercare Foundation funded a series of Seniors Dialogues and partnered with the District of Saanich and Island Health to undertake the work. We recruited 14 dynamic seniors with diverse backgrounds who met over a four week period to explore “What Home Means” to them.
From these dialogues, they created 4 fabulous posters to document their work, but when the sessions ended…the group did not! Instead, they carried on and created a number of initiatives including the well-distributed Social Skills for Shy Seniors tip card and a peer facilitated Conversation Café initiative that provides a safe and comfortable opportunity for older adults to explore meaningful and interesting topics, meet new people and learn something interesting about themselves and others.
Oceanside Healthy Aging Initiative
Our partnership with the Oceanside community began with our Embrace Aging initiative and is growing. Oceanside is an area on Vancouver Island encompassing Parksville, Qualicum Beach, Nanoose, Coombs, Errington, Bowser and Lasqueti Island. Parksville and Qualicum Beach have been identified as having the ‘oldest’ populations in BC, followed by Sidney here on the Saanich Peninsula.
In partnership with Vancouver Island University and a coalition of community leaders who form the Oceanside Healthy Living Association (OHLA) the Eldercare Foundation sponsored a “Community Connectivity Forum” in the spring of 2013, bringing together senior-serving, senior-focused groups and organizations to dialogue and come up with ideas on how to make it easier for seniors in their community to find and access what they need. To build on this work, in January 2014 we sponsored a family caregiver community roundtable.
The Senior Dialogue and Memory Café were so successful we thought it would be fabulous to do a similar project with an intergenerational focus. In 2012, Trust Us was launched in partnership by the Greater Victoria Eldercare Foundation, Saanich Parks & Recreation and Island Health with funding support from the New Horizons for Seniors Program.
This project brought together teens and seniors in the Gorge Tillicum neighbourhood to explore how to bridge the generational gap, foster friendlier, safer communities and provide opportunities for seniors and teens to learn from each other. The TRUST US Team developed a presentation poster & video, a tip card outlining “Ten Steps To Foster Intergenerational Communities” and an age-friendly event that drew over 60 people aged from 2 to 82. Additionally, a teen and senior drop-in was established through Saanich Parks & Recreation, an age-friendly garden guide was created, and a community garden plot was established to foster intergenerational interaction through community shared gardening.