SYDNEY MINES — The Harbour View Hospital is in the unfamiliar position of having spaces available for its seniors day program.
© Cape Breton Post
Kevin Stairs, a recreational therapist, guides clients through a warm up exercise during a recent day at the Harbour View Hospital Seniors Day Program.
Currently, the program is 10 spots short of the limit of 60 clients who can take part in the daily activities the hospital offers.
While that may be seen as good news for those interested in the program, it's a source of some concern for the people who run it.
"We usually have a waiting list, but this summer we petered down," said Kathy Jessome, administrator of the program.
"If people don't take advantage of it being here, we may see cutbacks, staff may be reassigned and then the numbers may be cut off at 50. The community will lose access. It is one of those things where we have to keep it in demand."
There have been no talk of cutbacks, Jessome said. It's just a concern at this point.
"We have good support from the doctors, the community health care works — continuing care, VON — even adult protection will call with client references. It's just to get the people in."
The program was established in 1982 as a comprehensive care plan designed to enhance a person's quality of life by helping them maintain their independence and keeping them connected with their community.
Meals, nursing and taxi services are some of the services it offers to compliment a host of recreation activities.
Clients can also access cognitive, social and spiritual support.
"One day we'll play indoor lawn darts. That's hand eye co-ordination, it's the actual throwing of the darts and the muscle movement there and calculating of the scores. That's just one morning program."
An afternoon could see a church service and other recreational activities.
"Plan 'B' could be bingo. There is always something on the go. In case of spiritual, if you are not a spiritual person we would have something else going on instead of a church service. We look at all the needs."
The day program also has access to a bus, which means outings outside of the hospital, including one recent visit to a North Sydney home that overlooks the Seaview Golf Club.
"It was beautiful. The clients were thrilled. They got lobster and salads and we did some activities up there. It was really nice."
Clients are usually very happy and content to take part in the service, though some tend to be a little nervous when they first arrive.
"It's to get them in the door and to get to know us. In a way, it is like sending a kid to daycare. Once they get here, it is like a sea of faces. If they know someone, we have it made."
A nervous client arrived last week with her son for a tour, Jessome said.
But once she saw a couple of women she knew, she couldn't wait to start.
"She started Tuesday and wants to come everyday of the week now that she knows people and knows what we do. It is just to get them through the door. It works out well from there, usually."
Applications can be picked up at the hospital.