Our Community Care

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Photo Karen Graham. Pictured is Community Care Volunteer Pat Schier who is responsible for performing tests each month for all Personal Distress Alarm clients. Ours is the only Community Care Office offering these medical alert units that allow older adults and people with disabilities to call for assistance using a help button linked to a 24-hour emergency response team. These units cost approximately $350 each, and all 16 of them were purchased with funds received through the township’s Community Funding grants in 2014 and 2016.

Community Care Peterborough provides a variety of essential services to seniors and adults with physical challenges, empowering them to live at home. The organization offers a wide range of non-medical supports including meals and transportation, in-home services, transition home after hospital stays as well as social and wellness activities.  Clients are referred to the organization by a health professional or community agency, or approach the organization directly through a friend or family member.

Community Care Peterborough serves 7,600 clients in the City and County of Peterborough with the help of more than 900 volunteers who provided more than 97,000 hours of service last year through a network of eight local service offices.

Since her arrival in Millbrook in December 2012, Community Development Coordinator Karen Morton has raised the profile, services and volunteer base in our community with her energy, initiative and enthusiasm. Last year, the contingent of 72 volunteers at the Millbrook location logged 6600 hours of service helping 351 clients. They also delivered 2000 frozen meals through the organization’s biggest program, Meals on Wheels.

The organization is volunteer driven and not related to the fully-funded Community Care Access Centre which operates with fully paid staff who administer wait lists and admissions for day programs, assisted living and long term care and determine eligibility for medical and health care services at home, in schools or in the community.

Many of their services involve volunteers coming right to the client’s door, including Meals on Wheels, friendly in-home visits, transition services after a hospital stay, and affordable home maintenance. Their team of volunteer drivers provide escorted transportation options to medical appointments, treatments, community services and activities. This is one of the few services requiring a user fee, which is a nominal amount paid to drivers to contribute to their gas expense. The organization also operates “Caremobile” buses that carry up to 8 passengers, including 3 wheelchairs which are available to clients who cannot access conventional transportation.

Prevention programs include wellness activities developed to support active living. There are eight different exercise programs offered in Millbrook, from yoga classes to falls prevention class which attracted 140 attendees. They also provide monthly blood pressure clinics at two locations.

Recognizing the importance of social engagement in maintaining health, the organization also hosts regular social events including luncheons, dinners, coffee clubs and special outings to encourage seniors to get out and mingle. For those who can’t get out, volunteers provide regular telephone calls to ensure housebound seniors are secure.

As a non-profit charitable organization, Community Care Peterborough relies on the generosity and support of the community. Donations to this organization work locally, empowering our elderly neighbours to remain at home, and with a volunteer to staff ratio exceeding 95%, funds flow directly to their programs. Each Community Care branch must fill the funding gap required to sustain their organization. This year the Millbrook branch must raise $50,273 through donations, user fees and securing grants to top up the $32,991 they receive from Central East Local Health Integration Network (CE LHIN), and United Way funding to maintain their services.

As aging volunteers transition to clients, all Community Care branches are finding it difficult to maintain an adequate volunteer base to deliver their programs. In some ways they are becoming victims of their own success: as their aging customer base becomes capable of remaining in their homes longer, these customers present more complex issues, such as multiple chronic conditions requiring access to multiple services. Demographic trends indicate that their market will grow dramatically in the future as Peterborough faces the second highest aging rate in the country.

You can help this valuable organization by contributing financially or as a volunteer. There are a many ways to help: in the office; on a committee; as a driver; or on the telephone encouraging a neighbour. Karen Morton welcomes your call at 705-932-2011. KG

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