How Circle of Care’s Adult Day Program changes lives

Two ladies waving their hands as they participate in music class.
Woman petting a dog at the Circle of Care Adult Day Program.
Woman gets a manicure at the Circle of Care Adult Day Program.
Two patients enjoy a game of cards as a staff member speaks to them.
Staff member leans down to speak with a client.
A man and two women sit together at a table chatting.

Circle of Care’s Adult Day Program provides compassionate care for seniors and respite for their families.

When Farrah Campbell’s mother Lucita was diagnosed with Alzheimer’s disease, she and her husband David knew it was going to be a long road. “As a growing acceptance of our reality slowly took root, it became evident to us that over time we were not going to be able to do this alone,” says Farrah. “We were going to need help. A lot of help.”

As the months and years went by, the Campbells tried as best they could to manage the demands of being Lucita’s caregivers while maintaining work and family life. Like many families coping with having a loved one diagnosed with Alzheimer’s, they relied on family members and personal support workers to help share the load.

Over the last five years, Lucita has attended the Adult Day Program (ADP) provided by Circle of Care.

The ADP provides an opportunity for older adults living at home to have “a day out,” participate in social programming and connect with peers in a safe and supportive environment. This helps preserve clients’ levels of mental and physical functioning while providing caregivers with the peace of mind to take much-needed time for themselves.

Thanks in part to donor support, Circle of Care recently moved to a new space within the Joseph & Wolf Lebovic Jewish Community Campus, which doubles the number of people the program can help. The 7,200-square-foot space was built to be homelike, friendly, inviting and non-institutional as well as to meet specific safety and accessibility needs. Other unique features include an outdoor garden court, exercise room and multi-purpose spa area.

For the Campbells, the ADP is a lifeline. “It has been our experience that it takes a very special person to choose to be a caregiver as a career, continually having to find new reserves of strength to maintain the joy that comes from selfless occupation,” says Farrah. “We are the very blessed recipients of having an entire staff of these very special people who take care of our mother each day she attends.”

The ADP’s mission is to provide joy, community and purpose to people living with dementia – as well as their caregivers – honouring the whole person, past and present. This approach aligns with the Campbells’ experience. Farrah says her mother is always greeted by name and with a beaming smile. “We know that every time we drop her off, she is safe, she is cared for, she is loved,” Farrah says. “What more could one desire for their loved one than for them to be treated in such a dignified manner?”

It’s like “going to the club”

According to staff at Circle of Care’s Adult Day Program, some of the residents refer to their attendance in the program as “going to the club” – just one example of the overwhelmingly positive feedback the program receives from clients, caregivers and volunteers alike.

As one of the few of its kind in the GTA that services clients with moderate to severe dementia – and will soon accommodate older adults who do not have dementia – the ADP’s dynamic, empathy-based programming meets people where they are on their journeys to create new experiences. “There is a tendency to regard people with dementia as having lost their abilities,” says ADP supervisor Madeline D’Arpino. “Circle of Care and Sinai Health have intentionally built a culture of re-enablement into its ADP that puts the experiences of each person at the forefront.”

Madeline says Circle of Care recognizes that people with dementia have a purpose. “Our program wants to lead a shift in perception where we recognize each individual as a unique and whole person, with a history and a lived life.”