$1.2 million allotted for seniors’ caregiving

Martin C. Barry

Seven Laval-area groups providing assistance to senior citizens and their caregivers will be benefiting from $1.2 million in subsidies announced by Quebec Minister for Senior Citizens Francine Charbonneau who made the announcement on June 5 at the Place des Aînés community centre in Chomedey.

Mayor Marc Demers, who was on hand for the announcement, said it was good news for seniors as well as for those who take of them. He said organizations like l’Appui Laval do incalculably valuable work and the money they are receiving from Quebec is well spent by the government.

Lending a helping hand

For her part, Charbonneau said the groups chosen to receive the subsidies give back many times more. “Each time you help one person, you are helping a family and who knows how many more people,” she said. “Calculate it any way to like, but each time you reach out to help, you are helping many, many people.”

“For over five years, l’Appui Laval has been committed to increasing its services offered to Laval caregivers,” said Mariette Chalifoux, president of l’Appui Laval, which is serving as an umbrella for the seven recipients of the funding.

“Information, psychological support and respite services which are offered by community organizations provide valuable support to caregivers and contribute in improving their quality of life,” she added. In 2012, according to l’Appui, Quebec had more than 1.13 million family caregivers who provided care and support to a senior. One in 10 caregivers spends more than 20 hours a week on their caregiving duties.

Funding for two years

For the next two years, l’Appui Laval is committed to financially supporting 14 projects presented by the organizations. The projects will allow caregivers who support an elderly person with a loss of autonomy to access various services that meet their needs. The organizations chosen to receive the subsidies are:

The Association lavalloise de parents et amis pour le bien-être mental (ALPABEM), which develops information and training services for caregivers of seniors with mental health issues; The Association lavalloise des personnes aidantes (ALPA), which hosts conferences and provides individual and group support for caregivers of seniors. In addition it offers a home respite service 24/7; the Centre Communautaire le Rendez-Vous des Aînés (CCRVA) and the Comité d’animation du troisième âge de Laval (CLAVA), which provides respite days for caregivers by welcoming seniors to their premises;

Francine Charbonneau Senior Citizens Minister Francine Charbonneau

Some of the organizations

The Coopérative de soutien à domicile de Laval, which is starting a home respite service that will let caregivers get a break for a few hours in order to meet a one-time need; The Services sociaux helléniques du Québec, which in collaboration with ALPA will assist English-speaking and various community caregivers. Their goal is to ensure awareness of the different resources and services offered to them in Laval; The Alzheimer Society Laval, which provides a range of services for caregivers of a person with Alzheimer, including home consultation, respite for one-time need and respite with accompaniment.

As Charbonneau made clear while delivering some of her remarks in English, the provincial government wants to increase the availability of services for English-speaking senior citizens and their caregivers. One of the organizations, Services sociaux helléniques du Québec, will be carrying out some of this mandate.

Increased services in English

“We will sensitize and inform mainly in English, in order to facilitate the accessibility of services,” said Chrysoula Beletsiotis, coordinator for the Hellenic Community of Greater Montreal’s caregiver program.

“We will target natural caregivers of the elderly within the anglophone and ethno cultural communities of Ste-Dorothée, Laval-Ouest, Les Îles-Laval, Fabreville-Ouest and Chomedey,” she added. “Even though we have managed to sensitize a significant number of caregivers to date, there are still so many more caregivers of the elderly that need to be reached before they burnout. We have only touched the tip of the iceberg.”