An invitation was received recently from Monique Natividad Adult Day Program to attend the VON Adult Day Program at Indian Brook. Arriving at the Roman Catholic Church in Indian Brook Thursday morning at 10:30 a.m. Natividad, the program coordinator, was reading the Truro Daily News to 10 clients.
News stories such as a recent bear sighting in downtown Truro and a note being found in a bottle, had everyoneâ€™s attention. The clients occasionally added colourful comments to the story being read.
Following a discussion period, canvases, paint brushes and paint were passed out to the clients.
â€śAround this table we have three sisters,â€ť Natividad announced. â€śPat Pictou is going to paint a sunflower — we have a happy story from Indian Brook, we want people to hear about good things that happen here.â€ť
The mood was happy and the clients enjoyed a friendly conversation as they painted around the large table.
â€śWe enjoy doing arts here,â€ť said Sunshine Paul, of Indian Brook. â€śIt gets our fingers going, its good exercise. I like coming here, these are nice people â€“ we do something different every day. Itâ€™s like visiting each other, we learn about each other. We are all friends here, friends who help one another.â€ť
Beckie Paolini, also of Indian Brook, looks forward to Thursdays.
â€śThis is our most favourite time of the week. We have a lovely meal, I enjoy the painting and I enjoy seeing all the other people. I also look forward to seeing the (coordinators).â€ť
Pictou smiled as she spoke to me about the sunflower she was beginning to paint.
As hair washing and beauty followed, caring and patience was shown the clients. Natividad said the VON staff work as a team, operating side by side five days a week. Program assistants are Bonnie Joldersma and Jennifer Ives; Stephanie Wilson is a casual employee. On this occasion, students Brenda Grant and Lynn Dennis were both observing the program, while also taking part.Â Â Â
â€śOur main goal for Indian Brook is to increase our weekly gatherings,â€ť said Natividad. â€śWe have five openings for new clients; weâ€™d love to see new clients from Indian Brook and surrounding areas join the program.
â€śSome of our favourite activitiesâ€¦ I read the Truro Daily News out loud, we discuss stories, the clients enjoy our baking and cooking program, art projects, bingo, sing-songs and birthday and holiday celebrations. Thereâ€™s lots of laughter â€“ this group is alive and they are so much fun.â€ť
The friendly and alert coordinator explained that the VON Adult Day Program has been operating in Truro for 20 years.
â€śAbout 10 years ago a one-day-a-week program in Tatamagouche was opened and about six years ago we opened this one-day-a-week program in Indian Brook.â€ť
Natividad said the program provides a safe, comfortable environment for seniors and adults who are living with chronic illness, intellectual disabilities, social isolation and/or dementia.
Clients have the opportunity to maintain and improve cognitive and physical skills through exercise, activities, entertainment and discussions.
â€śOur clients sincerely enjoy being part of the program. The staff treat the clients like family â€“ they are greeted with a smile and itâ€™s a wonderful day of meaningful activities together.â€ť
Natividad continued voicing a huge passion for the VON Adult Day Program, operating five days a week in three communities. In her 21st year organizing recreational programs for seniors and adults, Natividad had worked in long-term care for 14 years in Halifax and this is her seventh year as program coordinator with the VON.
â€śI always wanted to come back to Truro to be closer to my parents so when my current position was advertised, I jumped at the opportunity,â€ť Monique said. â€śI was offered the position, and relocated my family to Truro. I guess Iâ€™ve never looked back, Iâ€™ve never worked so long and hard, but never have I had a job with such satisfaction. I love my job.â€ť
Monique grew up in Truro, the daughter of Ron and Anne Fougere, both local music teachers. A graduate of CEC, she later attended Nova Scotia Community College in Truro. Monique and her husband, Jesus, live in Valley; they have three sons, age 18, 12 and 10. Also living with the family is a 11-year-old international student from South Korea.
Lyle Carterâ€™s column appears every second Tuesday in the Truro Daily News. If you have a column idea, contact him at 902 673-2857.