Sometimes small things such as art and music make anywhere a home. The Saanich Peninsula Hospital Foundation campaign this year builds on the programs in place for those in Residential Care at the Peninsula’s hospital.
“What we want to do is make sure that people who are living here have more feelings of being at home. The aspects of the campaign like music therapy and gardening therapy, those are really important touchstones for people to feel that this is their home,” said Karen Morgan, executive director of the Saanich Peninsula Hospital Foundation.
This year’s goal is $2 million for the Residential Care Unit to support new art, music and horticulture therapy programs, revitalize the library and provide personalized equipment for each resident in the unit to continue enjoying the passions they love.
Longtime Saanich Peninsula residents Margery Littley, who lives in Residential Care at the Saanich Peninsula Hospital, and her daughter Nancy Nagy, serve as honorary chairs of this year’s fundraising campaign. They also feature in what is fast becoming a tradition for the SPHF, a launch video.
“It allows us to get a much broader reach than the live campaign launches at the hospital,” Morgan said. “We’ve been getting email reaction from people … the nursing managers in extended care have sent it out to the staff. There’s been lots of laughter and tears. They’re very touched by some of the images in the video.”
The video also features Jennifer Wear, RN, Saanich Peninsula Hospital Residential Care, who speaks about current programs in place and the importance of sensory programs to elders.
“When you talk to the staff in extended care they talk about the ability of many of these therapies to soothe. Dementia affects lots of the residents to a greater or lesser degree and it allows them to create their own reality,” Morgan said.
One program still in the early stages is the Love and Comfort Therapy, where residents receive a baby doll.
“One of the nurses, (Jennifer Wear in the video), said it best, “People in residential care may have dementia but they’re still capable of giving love,” Morgan said.
A 2015 report issued by the BC Office of the Seniors Advocate, suggests seniors are prescribed too many drugs that could cause harm and too few visits from therapists who could improve their lives. About one-third of seniors in care were prescribed anti-psychotic drugs but only four per cent were diagnosed with psychiatric illness, said Isobel Mackenzie in her report, Placement, Drugs and Therapy…We Can Do Better.
About 90 per cent of those in Residential Care have some level of dementia and studies show activities such as painting, singing, reading and gardening contribute to benefit the emotional, mental and physical health of elders. Depression and anxiety are alleviated and those with dementia retain greater cognitive abilities, sociability and calmness increase and there is evidence indicating less medication is necessary to treat the symptoms that often accompany many neurological disorders.
“There’s clear science that shows this is helpful to people living in residential care living with dementia,” Morgan said. “It really reduces agitation and in many cases reduces the need for medication.”
Visit sphf.ca online to view the video or make a donation.