Last week at the annual general meeting for Valley Community Services, we heard reports from all the programs under the society. As each program report was given, it was clear that the scope of services being provided are filling many community needs. From families to individuals, infants to seniors, over 4,000 services were provided in the last year. It was emphasized by all that these are not delivered in isolation, that collaboration between the programs as well as with the community at large is the operating principle.
When Bridget Currie spoke of the Therapeutic Activation Program for Seniors, her opening statement said it all: “We’ve had a great year, supporting seniors to stay independent, to have a quality, meaningful life with lots of laughter along the way.” Behind that statement lie hundreds of stories, thousands of moments and an infinity of the little things that touch us and make a life.
Backed up by countless volunteer hours and thoughtful, creative and flexible planning by the staff, TAPS served an average of 60 clients each month. The average age of our clients was 81. Eleven of our clients are more than 90 years old and one is approaching 100 in September.
Our youngest client is 56. We have younger clients with chronic diseases and younger clients from the special needs community. We have several new to Creston, seniors who have followed their retiring children here. Can you imagine moving and then trying to meet and develop a network of friends and support at 90 years old?
We have clients who were born and raised in Creston, and lived their lives here as active community members. They come to TAPS and find their old workmates across the table. That is wonderful to see: two guys living on their own realizing that they worked for years together, and now they sit at TAPS enjoying their shared stories.
The Day Break program funded by Interior Health allows us to serve nutritional meals and companionship for seniors in a group setting. TAPS and the Day Break program served approximately 4,500 individual meals to clients and our volunteers.
Coming up in June, TAPS is hosting a Strawberry Picnic appreciation event for volunteers who help directly in the program and who help fundraise through Krafty Kronys.
Our Moving Along Together program just completed its first eight-week session with the next session to be held in September. Feedback from all involved is clear that it was a meaningful and relevant experience for folks experiencing memory changes and some caregivers. For more information on the fall session, contact TAPS. Thanks to Sarah Stonehouse, who was our cook during the program; her tasty food and good spirit were acknowledged by all. Good luck on your next endeavours, Sarah! And thanks to CBT for funding to offer this new program.
Welcome officially to Rivinannah Reddalc, our summer work student, whose participation is most welcome in the program and will be researching and planning out in the community experiences for our summer schedule.
Maureen Cameron is the community liaison development co-ordinator for the Therapeutic Activation Program for Seniors. For more information on TAPS, run by Valley Community Services, call 250-428-5585.