The work being done by Community Support Connections (CSC) was in the spotlight this month as the Breslau-based organization hosted a virtual event where local MPP Mike Harris was briefed on the work supported by a $91,000 grant from the Ontario Trillium Foundation (OTF).
A senior support organization, CSC has one goal: helping their clients remain in their homes as long as possible.
“That’s where they’re healthiest and they’re happiest. And from a healthcare system perspective, it’s a lot more affordable for us to provide care in a person’s home,” explained CSC executive director Will Pace.
“As soon as they enter the formal health care system, so once a person moves into a facility or a hospital, the prices skyrocket. But if we can actually provide care for people in their own homes, as they need it, when and how they need it, then not only is it better for them, but it’s better for the healthcare system, because it’s a much more affordable way to actually keep them happy and healthy.”
Although the organization has some major services that provide support, such as their meals program, they also have smaller programs that make an important impact in the lives of their clients, Pace noted.
“We have a home health program so it’s homemaking, snow-shovelling, little things that again, as you get older, there may be one thing you’re not able to do. And that could be why a person says, ‘Well, I have to leave my own home and go enter a facility of some kind.’ So at the end of the day, it’s just all about letting our clients live in their own homes with independence and dignity.”
The virtual event March 10 put the spotlight on the provincial grant that helped the organization provide free exercise classes across the region, as well as fall prevention information sessions. The funds also facilitate the opportunity to offer eight exercise class options throughout the week, serving more than 500 clients.
“Community Support Connections helps their residents live independently and with dignity, and it is important that they will be able to continue their work with the support of our government,” said Harris in a release.
Community Support Connections serves around 5,000 clients per year in Kitchener, Waterloo, Cambridge and North Dumfries. While the charity is one of many support organizations in the region, Pace said it is not a competition for clients.
“We work very closely with other partners who provide different services like the Alzheimer’s Society, or family health teams, and then there are other agencies that do our work, but do it out in a different area. What we find is that if we work with someone like the Alzheimer’s Society, we’re working with many of the same clients.”
The OTF grant also helped the organization to continue the virtual exercise program that they started during the pandemic.
“As the pandemic started to subside, and we started to open up again, we realized that we had enough funding to do in-person classes or to do the virtual classes, but not to do both. So we applied to the Trillium Foundation, and the idea being that they would give us transitional funding for a year so that we could actually keep the virtual exercise programs running while we started up the in-person classes again, because what we really didn’t want to do was have to pull that off of that program away from people having already offered it to them,” Pace said.
While some seniors might resist receiving support, Community Support Connections is there to help them be as independent as possible, he added.
“We actually are their best friend in that sense because, as long as we’re working with them say with meals and exercise and homemaking and transportation, then they don’t have to leave their own home,” he said.