With the ongoing pandemic, helping folks to stay connected across the community is of course top of mind for local FCSS staff.
The organization along with help from the PCN has been putting together meetings on Zoom to help keep folks and clients better connected across town.
“It’s called the Adult Day Support Program,” said Norma Bauer, who facilitates the initiative.
“Before COVID, we would meet Tuesdays and Thursdays and spend the day together.
“Basically, it was an activity group with structured and enjoyable activities such as mental aerobics, music, and physical games that are designed to meet the needs and abilities of each individual,” she said, adding that the program is geared to adults with limitations who live in the community.
“What we are trying to do is focus on abilities – mind, body, spirit, promoting fun, enjoyment and socialization.”
Staff also have worked hard to address challenging emotions clients may be experiencing including sadness, boredom and anxiety.
The program also provides respite for caregivers.
Again, pre-COVID, this program, which also provided a lunch, would run through the day on Tuesdays and Thursdays. But staff have still found a way to help local clients keep in touch with the FCSS and with other friends and neighbours thanks to technology.
“A government grant from the New Horizons For Seniors Program, was able to provide iPads through the Rimbey Medical Clinic to support the seniors in Rimbey so that they can still utilize our services,” she explained.
“I have clients at the Valley View Manor, and what (staff) are doing is they are setting them up on the Zoom meetings. The Rimbey Public Library also has two clients going there with their iPads,” she said.
Some clients need a bit of help with getting onto the Zoom meetings, but Bauer said Rimbey is a good community and help has always been available to assist those who need a hand.
“With our Zoom meetings, we are doing some exercising. I call them brain games,” she added with a chuckle. “Mental aerobics – quizzes, crosswords – to me it’s like exercising our brains,” she said. “And of course there is visiting.
“So I send out the invites, and everybody gets to their spots so they can get online. And we start the meeting!
“The meetings help provide mental stimulation, social interaction and emotional support,” she said.
“And also, if caregivers need any help, they can also give me a call, too and I can help to refer them on.”
The Zoom meetings are running once a week for one hour, and it’s proven a big hit with those who have been signing on.
“The clients have told me that they look forward to the meeting – it’s a highlight! They are also really happy when we are all there together – they are just smiling. They visit, and ask each other how they’ve been doing. They formed a bond before COVID-19, and now they aren’t able to see each other.
“So the biggest thing to me is that it’s keeping us connected as a group,” she said, adding that the Zoom meetings also help to decrease that sense of isolation which of course has been a common problem during the pandemic.
Bauer, who has been at the local FCSS office for five years, said her work offers a continual source of fulfillment.
“The thing I like the best about it are the relationships that I build with people – making new friends and helping to make people feel happy,” she explained.
Bauer also mentioned that the program used to run out of the Blindman Youth Action Centre but has since moved back to the Provincial Building.
“So we have a brand new, beautiful space to operate out of now,” she said. They haven’t been able to settle there quite yet because of the pandemic, however. “But it’s really nice – it turned out really good.”
As to face to face meetings resuming, Bauer noted there has been no word on that as of yet.
“We are waiting for approval from Alberta Health Services,” she said. “But we are fortunate that we do have this technology.”
Meanwhile, there is a wide range of helpful programs run through the Rimbey FCSS including everything from Volunteer Visitors, Meals on Wheels and Home Support Services to Palliative Care and Personal Care amongst others.
For more information, call 403-843-2030.