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Saturday, December 12, 2009

Meet Deb: an ARTC success story


A dult day programs are one of the community's best-kept secrets.

Can you imagine what life would be like if you were faced with a chronic, long-term condition, such as stroke, aphasia, multiple sclerosis, Parkinson's or dementia, that affected your ability to be independent? Or can you imagine your life as a caregiver trying to help your loved one navigate through this process?

A change in health status due to illness, a progressive disease, or condition of aging often leaves individuals and their families in uncharted waters, especially if family members assume the duties of becoming the caregiver for their loved one.

For individuals who find themselves in this situation, help is available. There are community agencies, which are able to reduce the responsibility placed on families and assist individuals so that they may remain independent.

These community support agencies vary from city to city, but all have the common goal of keeping people in their own homes. In Brantford, one such agency is the Adult Recreation Therapy Centre. ARTC is a community-based adult day program, and one of the 18 member agencies of Brant United Way.

The adult day program at ARTC is available to help individuals with comprised health conditions remain independent and living in the community.

ARTC helps individuals keep active and involved by participating in various activities, innovative programs, and a full range of individual and group exercises. The centre has trained professional staff including recreation therapists, a kinesiologist and speech language pathologists, who work as a team to help clients live life to the fullest by providing them with meaningful activity and opportunity to re-engage in the community. The programs offered by ARTC help individuals maintain not only their physical ability but their cognitive and social functioning, enabling them to remain independent.

Deb is one of ARTC's success stories. In 2003, Deb suffered an aneurysm and spent two years in the hospital. After receiving rehabilitation in the hospital, she was released with a referral to ARTC in 2005. Since attending ARTC, Deb has conquered depression and organized her life. She moved out of a house she shared with her daughter, son-in-law and four grandchildren to an apartment of her own with minimal support. She has become independent and now does her own banking, cooking, laundry, and shopping. She attends church, participates in wheelchair curling and enjoys getting out in the community. During her participation at ARTC, Deb has made friends, and helped start the stroke support group. She has also learned how to paint with her non-dominant hand and has relearned computer skills. With the help of ARTC staff, Deb has learned to use the resources available to her in the community. Deb feels very good about herself today and attributes much of her success to the ongoing support and encouragement she receives from ARTC. Deb continues to work daily on remaining independent and is thankful for the support she has received through her journey.

Adult day programs, such as the Adult Recreation Therapy Centre, offer a win-win situation for everyone involved. Individuals whose health status is impaired are able to participate in programs with others affected in similar ways; offering peer support and encouragement to each other. Caregivers, often the unsung heroes, feel less burdened and more at-ease when they know their loved one is involved in a support program.

In Brantford, ARTC is located at 408 Henry St. The centre runs programs Monday through Saturday including a Tuesday night program. Referral to the program can be made through direct contact with the centre or through the Brant CCAC office. The centre also has a satellite site in Paris located at the Willett for individuals living in Brant County. This program runs Monday, Wednesday and Friday. For more information about the various programs and services offered at ARTC call 519- 753-1882.

The Brant United Way is proud to have the Adult Recreation Therapy Centre as one of its member agencies. The programs they provide in our community make this a stronger and more caring community.
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