Neha Jayaram, Communications and Marketing Specialist
Client of the Active Living Centre; participates in the Art program, congregational dining, bingo and lunch and is a member of the choir.
Both my husband and I have full-time jobs and our kids are in university full-time. When my dad was diagnosed with dementia and Alzheimer’s, his doctor at the Toronto Memory program recommended that we find some sort of day program for him. Dad was home alone a lot and he was getting depressed.
And then suddenly one day, I found out about the Adult Day Program at Scarborough Centre for Healthy Communities and I thought, this is perfect, it’s 10 minutes from my house, they will pick him up and drop him off, so I was quite happy with it. He was in the program for a couple of years, couple of days a week, and for a while it was great. When he first started, he loved it; but then a lot more people with Alzheimer’s, dementia and physical ailments that were much more progressed than Dad started to join. It got to the point where he was one of the few that was still well enough to be left alone. My dad is still very capable, he still does all his own bills!
He started to get very depressed, he kept saying this is what I’m going to be one day. So I cut it down to just 1 day a week, but he was even dreading that one day. Plus when he was home alone, he wasn’t eating, or he would just eat a bag of cookies. We had entered him in the program to help his depression, not make it worse! I was extremely concerned and I went in to the centre to cancel.
While I was there, I met Navia and I told her what was going on. She knew my dad well and she agreed that his condition wasn’t that bad and he didn’t need constant supervision! She suggested some of the programs at the Active Living Centre and it was perfect! He was already part of the choir on Thursdays, they used to send him over from the Adult Day Program. So I signed him for an additional 3 days: painting on Mondays, Bingo and Lunch on Tuesdays, and Social Dining on Fridays.
It was great for him because Dad was a very artistic person when he was younger. He used to paint and he was an actor for a long time. He has Wednesdays off, I let him sleep in and relax at home one day. But I’ve signed him up for Meals on Wheels on Wednesdays, so I’m assured he’s having food delivered to him and eating well.
He was very resistant to it in the beginning, he didn’t want any part of it. I had to insist that he try at least a month and then we could decide. The first two weeks were very difficult. I was away on holiday, and when the cat’s away the mouse plays! He tried to cancel Meals on Wheels, he tried to cancel the programs, and well, he did a few other things. I had to lay down the law when I came back and said, we’re sticking to it for a month, no choice.
He put a metal pot of soup in the microwave and blew it up! We found several warped pots hidden in his room later..
Another challenge we’ve had is his food. I used to make him homemade soups, still do, but he isn’t allowed to use the microwave anymore. A few months ago when my husband and I were away, Dad put a metal pot of soup in the microwave and blew it up! Thankfully my adult daughter was home, smelled it and managed to put out the fire and get him out of the room. Shortly after that, we discovered several other warped pots hidden in his room; he had been heating up metal pots for a little while, this was just the first time it caught fire!
The MOW food is perfect for him, he’s British and the food feeds his English palette. It helps me relax too because I know he’s eating well at least 3-4 days a week and he isn’t required to use the microwave or stove.
George and his daughter Jacqui sharing a laugh at their kitchen table