With its spring programs about to launch, the Cummings Centre, a non-profit, multicultural community centre serving Montreal’s 50+ population, had to quickly adjust its programming and put in place several measures during the current COVID-19 pandemic.

“The Centre postponed all events, programs and spring registration for the main campus (Westbury) and all off-site locations other than online programs,” notes Cummings Centre Executive Director Pauline Grunberg. “This has enabled staff to focus on delivering essential social services to clients and addressing concerns about social isolation.”

Essential Social Services
Those essential services have included delivering koshermeals-on-wheels, groceries and basic necessities to vulnerable clients and homecare services. Other efforts have included social services case management and community mental health staff continuing to work remotely with their clients offering psychosocial support where needed and direct service through the Cummings’ Shopping Program.

The Centre’s Day Services Program staff is in contact with their clients, who are individuals living with dementia, on a regular basis to offer support and assess basic needs. They are also working with caregivers, providing in-home stimulation kits and online support groups. In an effort to stay in touch with members and volunteers, the Volunteer and Program Department staff has developed a process for ‘care calls.’

Our staff is focused on delivering essential social services

to clients and addressing concerns about social isolation.”

… Executive Director Pauline Grunberg

The Cummings Social Services team and Agence Ometz are working together on the front lines with Federation CJA on a newly established community helpline delivering emergency response, generating increased demand of social services on the intake team. The helpline, 514-734-1411 and email: ometz-cummings-helpline@ometz.ca were established with Federation CJA and Agence Ometz for the community at large.

Cummings Virtual Library
To help break social isolation and enable seniors to stay active and engaged, the Cummings Centre’s Virtual Library, funded by the Leonard Albert Family Foundation, is providing free access to the community-at-large. The library includes over 150 recorded videos of past Cummings lectures, blockbuster events and classes from experts in the field of well-aging. Topics include health and wellness, music and art appreciation, global affairs, tales and travel and more.  Individuals can sign up for free at cummingscentre.org/virtual-learning/.

Wellness Programs
“We are living through unprecedented times,” said Cummings Wellness Centre Supervisor Maria Fragapane. “The Wellness Centre’s objective has always been to provide programs to improve the health and wellness of older adults. This objective has not changed because of circumstances but its implementation had to be creatively adjusted quickly, during this time of “social distancing.”

The Wellness Centre has worked to provide members and non-members alike with free on-line exercise class options that can be done at home during this time. These classes include adapted programs for participants whether following a stroke, progressive neuromuscular disorders (Parkinson’s disease, Multiple Sclerosis) or other health challenges.

“Ultimately, we are doing our best to keep our participants connected, engaged and physically active,” added Fragapane. “Hopefully we’ve succeeded in convincing them that being homebound is not an excuse. To that point we are encouraging participants to stay connected to the Centre, to join a virtual learning, exercise or support group during this time.”

For more information and ongoing updates visit cummingscentre.org. The Cummings Centre empowers and enhances the quality of life of adults age 50 and over by providing dynamic and innovative programs, social services and volunteer opportunities in a vibrant, respectful, inclusive and compassionate environment.

For more information about The Cummings Centre for Adults 50+, please visit: www.cummingscentre.org