The first Tuesday of April is designated as a special day to acknowledge and appreciate caregivers who do tremendous work providing support and care to loved ones in need. ONE CARE Home & Community Support Services, Huron and Perth Counties’ local home and community support services provider, wants to recognize the important role caregivers play in supporting loved ones to live at home and ensure they are supported as they provide care to those most vulnerable.
ONE CARE supports seniors and those with health challenges, as well as their caregivers, through a wide range of essential services. These services include: Meals on Wheels, In-Home Personal Support, Transportation, Adult Day Programs and Respite, just to highlight a few. Throughout the ongoing COVID-19 pandemic, most programs have never stopped and are being delivered as they were previously but with an increase in protective equipment and infection control procedures. Several programs are operating with modifications to increase protection of our clients and staff.
“We understand the incredible challenges caregivers face during this difficult time of isolation. In many situations, their support system has diminished due to COVID-19 restrictions,” says Kathy Scanlon, Executive Director, ONE CARE. “Caregivers are vital to providing care in the home and it is important that we continue to support families as they care for their loved ones.”
To help fill gaps that were identified as a result of COVID-19, ONE CARE also developed several temporary programs. These significant gaps were occurring early in the pandemic as people needed to stay at home and some support programs were first shut down and were then operating at a reduced capacity. Temporary programs included additional days of the Adult Day Program, Grocery Delivery, CSS Bundled Service (a service developed to support successful discharge from the hospital), Transportation to Nursing Clinics and the Night Away Program.
The Night Away Program was supported through short-term funding secured at the start of the pandemic. ONE CARE, along with the support of the Ontario Health Team, developed this temporary overnight respite program for clients, as caregivers were experiencing increasing distress and had very little respite. This program offered overnight respite stays in partnership with a local hotel in both Huron and Perth Counties. The stay included activities, two meals and accommodation for the night, as well as transportation if required. The funding for this program expired in March of this year.
“The relief ONE CARE has provided through the Night Away Program means the world to me and I am thankful and truly blessed that my husband was able to attend,” says Janice Klages, family caregiver. “He really enjoyed socializing with other people, it gave him something to look forward to after not wanting to leave the house much. It also allowed me to do a few things that I would not usually get to do and I was able to get a good night’s rest without having to worry.”
Janice adds that the ONE CARE staff were always supportive and encouraged her to enjoy her night, whatever it was she was doing. “The value and power of a caring act, whether it be kind words, a listening ear or a smile has the potential to turn life around a little bit,” she said. “So many times, situations beyond our control happen but it really helps us discover who we have. It is not the load that breaks us down, it is how we carry it.”
“We have witnessed firsthand how important these services are and we will continue to explore funding options,” says Ms. Scanlon. “The health and wellbeing of our community are our priority and we will continue to advocate on their behalf about how essential these services are.”
In 2018, ONE CARE partnered with local primary care, hospital and home and community care providers to develop educational supports for caregivers and healthcare providers through the Connecting the Dots for Caregivers project. A website was designed to help caregivers and healthcare providers find local services, programs and resources: https://www.caregivershuronperth.ca/. Care Planning is also offered through ONE CARE to clients and caregivers who are trying to support their loved ones. For more information, call 1-844-482-7800.
ONE CARE Home & Community Support Services
ONE CARE is a community based, charitable, not-for-profit health organization local to Huron and Perth Counties. ONE CARE offers a wide range of essential services to improve quality of life of seniors and older adults with health challenges, as well as caregiver relief. Programs include: Adult Day Programs, Assessments and Care Planning, Assisted Living, Day/Overnight Respite, Dining/Social Programs, Friendly Visiting, Foot Care, Grocery Delivery, Home at Last, Home Help, In-Home Personal Support, Lifeline – Emergency Response, Meals on Wheels, Social Work, Telephone Reassurance, Transportation, and Wellness and Exercise. Due to the ongoing pandemic, some programs may be temporarily modified. For the most up-to-date information visit www.onecaresupport.ca or call 1-877-502-8277.