Submitted by Noelle Gesner, communications and public affairs specialist (co-op student), Communications and Public Affairs

The Mobile South Asian Day Program takes participants on group trips so they can keep active together during the summer months.

(Photo) Participants of the Abbotsford Mobile South Asian Day Program enjoy an outing to Stave Lake as part of their summer activities

Carolyn Bulawka, team leader, Day Program for Older Adults, knows the importance of addressing the physical, social and cognitive needs of older adults and, in particular, supporting program participants during the heat of summer.

“One of the things that our program is able to do is give our clients opportunities for activity and exercise, which helps strengthen them to be more independent out in the community,” she explains.

This includes taking South Asian Day Program participants on trips to lakes, beaches and park picnics – activities and locations they may not otherwise be able to access because of mobility or health challenges. During the trips, staff and participants speak Punjabi.

“Many of our clients were feeling isolated and not comfortable going to programs offered in English and so this program offers a social opportunity to engage with their peers,” explains Shannon Ediger, day program manager.

Their most recent outing, a trip to a local park in Abbotsford, featured the group dancing and singing with one another before a enjoying a picnic.

“They are always excited to go on an outing,” says Bobbi Binning, recreation therapist, Abbotsford Day Program for Older Adults. “They are more connected to each other. You see a difference in their behaviour and how they interact with one another when we’re outside together.”

Recent heat waves have become a growing concern, especially for older adults and those living on their own.

Carolyn explains, "The heat has a concerning impact on seniors' health, but if they are connected with a day program someone can check in with them.”

Bobbi adds that, “A lot of the seniors don’t have air conditioners so the program allows them a space to cool off. We can also support the seniors with tips and tricks to manage the heat and ensure they are safe.”

Members of the group also keep connected and check in on each other to ensure they are safe during prolonged heat events.

“The program really is like a family,” says Bobbi. “We all work together to keep each other safe.”

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