Local caregiver support programs launch this week

By Jake Davies - West Carleton Online

WEST CARLETON – Being a caregiver in a rural area can be stressful, isolating work.

The Western Ottawa Community Resource Centre (WOCRC) is launching a caregiver support program twice-monthly shared in two different communities.

The WOCRC program launches this Friday (July 20) in Carp at the St. James Anglian Church from 10 a.m. to noon. The program will be in Carp every third Friday of the month. On the first Tuesday of each month, starting Aug. 7, the program will be in Fitzroy Harbour at Bethel St. Andrews United Church from 10 a.m. to noon.

Caregivers to loved one or friends are invited to attend the program which will offer on-site respite care at both locations. Refreshments and a light snack will be served. The program is funded through a United Way grant.

WOCRC Community Health Program Coordinator Megan Richards told West Carleton Online where the program idea came from.

WOCRC community consultations in 2016 resulted in good feedback the organization was able to turn in to action items. Feedback has resulted in permanent hubs in West Carleton; changes to transportation costing and services; staff located in West Carleton five days a week; and now, caregiver support.

“Some suggestions we were able to act on quickly,” Richards said. “There have been other things we’ve been taking our time on figuring out how to do it right.”

Richards says there are a lot of caregivers in West Carleton, and it is a challenging position to be in.

“Stress levels are high,” she said. “Family might not be nearby, transportation issues might drive that stress higher.”

To make sure they did it right, the WOCRC applied for funding and was successful with a grant from United Way.

Caregivers can attend the support program, have respite care for the person they are caring for and speak with a community of people in similar circumstances. Respite includes “physical activity, mental activity and a snack in a new location.”

“It’s an open floor where people can share their experiences, network and create connections,” Richards said. “People attending will drive the discussion.”

There is a potential for specialty groups and knowledge experts to visit and provide workshops.

“We’ll be able to provide support through feedback as needed.” Richards said. “We also will have trained staff who know the system and can provide strategies.”

Richards says this program is a first of its kind in West Carleton.

“We’re sure it is something that will build as we go,” she said. “At other urban locations you see the same people coming aback and you see it grow with new people. Ideally we want to see people age in this community with the support they need.”

If you are interested in attending the WOCRC asks you register by calling 613-591-3686 ext. 333 or email css@wocrc.ca.

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