ElderCare Edmonton has a long history in the capital region. First incorporated in 1980 as the Association of Adult Day Support Programs, the organization has had many different names over the years. In 2007, it became ElderCare Edmonton Society for Adult Day Programs, commonly referred to as ElderCare Edmonton. Despite the name changes, the client-focused approach has not wavered.
ElderCare Edmonton offers therapeutic recreational programming to strengthen seniors’ independence and quality of life. Prior to the pandemic, that meant in-person day programs delivered at three separate locations across Edmonton: Westend Seniors Activity Centre, Central Lions Seniors Centre, and Fulton School. For the time being, in-person programming is on hold, but ElderCare staff continue to connect with day program clients in a modified way.
“Our clients are receiving Wellness Telephone Calls to offer socialization, and to ensure they have everything they need, including information on additional support,” explains Program Manager Krista Mulbery.
The day programs are accessible to clients with a referral from Alberta Health Services. ElderCare Edmonton’s website provides more information on the referral process.
As it did for many organizations, the pandemic thrust virtual delivery upon ElderCare Edmonton. In adapting, ElderCare has expanded its offerings for older adults beyond its regular clientele. One of these offerings is a program called Well Connected, delivered through a partnership with Caregivers Alberta. It combines light physical activity with a cognitive component, as well as the occasional nutrition portion and entertainment. Staff also compile weekly activity booklets to send out electronically or via regular mail for those who don’t have access to a computer.
“Our Well Connected program registration is open to everyone through the Caregivers Alberta website,” says Program Manager Katelyn Poulin. “It is a way to reach everybody in our community.”
The Well Connected program launched early in the pandemic, as a way to maintain important connections between staff and clients when in-person interactions became impossible. It is also serving as a bridge between the two organizations.
“A lot of our clients have caregivers, whether they’re formal or informal, that eventually do need some sort of support,” says Mulbery. “We have that direct link with Caregivers Alberta. And because of that relationship, I know the people there I am connecting them with.”
A new head office location has helped to further enhance that relationship, as well as those with other senior serving organizations. In the summer, ElderCare Edmonton relocated to the Jerry Forbes Centre, a hub for non-profit organizations.
“By co-locating with Caregivers Alberta instead of meeting them through emails and just outside work groups, we were actually able to foster a stronger relationship,” explains Sandra Stemmer, ElderCare Edmonton’s Executive Director. “We're hoping to continue building on relationships with other not-for-profit associations that would dovetail with our mandate.”
In the last 40 years, ElderCare has evolved, growing and changing its programs to meet the needs of clients. Demand only seems to be increasing and that provides great opportunity for the future. “Keeping people active and engaged in their home through programming such as ours means people are able to stay in their own homes longer,” says Stemmer. “So we're going to leverage all of those things to potentially expand in the longer term.”
For more information on ElderCare Edmonton: www.eldercareedmonton.ca
Watch for an upcoming Stakeholder Spotlight in which we profile Caregivers Alberta.