With the current situation surrounding the coronavirus (COVID-19), the role of caregivers has grown exponentially. The Cummings Centre, a non-profit, multicultural community centre serving Montreal’s 50+ population mobilized its efforts in order to continue to serve the community with essential services and virtual learning programs. All of which have helped clients and caregivers with their basic needs.

Taking on the role of caregiver comes with its own unique set of challenges. The duties of a caregiver for a loved one dealing with the after-effects of a stroke, a diagnosis of Parkinson’s disease or negotiating the hurdles associated with Alzheimer’s or dementia can range from simple tasks, such as meal preparation and running errands for a family member with mobility issues, to more involved responsibilities.

“Taking into consideration the restorative needs

of the caregiver during this particular time is essential.”

… Beth Fineberg, Director of Social Services

While the focus is mostly placed on the person needing the care, the burdens of the caregiver are often set aside. “Caregivers are so appreciative when we just take the time to ask them how they are doing,” points out Beth Fineberg, Director of Social Services at the Cummings Centre. “Taking into consideration the restorative needs of the caregiver during this particular time is essential.”

The Centre’s Day Services programs, one of many essential services provided, supports clients living with dementia and their caregivers. “We are pooling all our resources to help relieve the burden of caregiving as much as possible,” says Joanne Baskin, Program Manager of Day Services. “Care calls are being made regularly to 130 families of Day Services, offering guidance, support and referrals and therapeutic home stimulation kits, that include exercise, cognitive games, puzzles and art, are being sent to families on a regular basis.”

Professional staff, including recreational therapists, a social worker, a music therapist, yoga and Tai Chi instructors have been providing some 16 virtual therapeutic programs as well as support each week to families in order to maintain cognitive and ongoing socialization and provide restoration to caregivers. Equipping caregivers with the necessary tools along with encouraging participation have always been highlighted at Cummings.

The response from both clients and caregivers alike has been positive and encouraging. Caregivers have expressed their appreciation for the continued support they are receiving from ongoing contact with the Centre and the stimulation activities that they can use with those who they are caring for. As one caregiver notes, “we thank you for taking good care of us.”

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. To find out more about our programs and services log onto cummingscentre.org or call 514-342-1234.

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