As the VON gets ready to hold one of the Yarmouth area’s longest-running annual fundraising events – the VON walkathon (to be held Saturday, May 26) – this might be a good time to check in on one of the community programs the walkathon helps support.
The adult day program is held each Thursday at the VON’s Yarmouth location on Starrs Road. There is a morning group that meets from 9:30 a.m. to noon and an afternoon one that meets the same day between 1:30 and 4.
Aside from Sandra Hubbard LeBlanc, VON Tri-County’s co-ordinator of community support and volunteer services, the program is volunteer-based.
“I co-ordinate, but it’s 100 per cent volunteers other than that,” Hubbard-LeBlanc said, adding that the volunteers are very well trained for what they do.
The program is meant to get people together – people who otherwise might not have a chance to socialize – for various activities while also giving a bit of a break to their caregivers.
“We welcome clients with dementia in the mild-to-moderate stages,” Hubbard-LeBlanc said. “People who come do have to be able to self-toilet and things like that, and it’s not a drop-in program. I would have to meet with the family and the potential client to decide if the program’s a good fit for them.”
She says clients love the program, which consists of things like music therapy, gentle exercise, planned outings and recreational activities. Clients say they like the fellowship, the chance to spend time and do things with others.
Each group – morning and afternoon – can accommodate up to eight people, although this can depend on the needs of the participants.
“If I have somebody here with a heavier need, then I’d have to have fewer people coming in for the program, so it’s very flexible that way,” Hubbard-LeBlanc said.
As of April 26, there were at least two openings in each group. Hubbard-LeBlanc invites anybody who is interested in the program to call the VON office at 902-742-4512, ext. 0.
“Then I would just contact them and we’d go from there to see if it’s a fit or not,” she said.
Meanwhile, as far as the VON’s walkathon is concerned, this year’s event is scheduled for Saturday, May 26, with the start and finish at Marian Hall (part of the St. Ambrose Parish Centre) on Albert Street. There are three distance options – 4.5K, 5.5K or 8K – with sign-in at 9:30 a.m. and the event itself at 10.
Of the VON’s annual fundraising initiatives, this is the oldest, dating back nearly 50 years.