Federal funds announced for continuation of program for frail seniors in Côte-St-Luc, Que.

From left, MNA David Birnbaum, Mayor Mitchell Brownstein, MP Anthony Housefather, along with Pauline Grunberg, Annette Oliel and Erica Botner of the Cummings Centre attend a funding announcement in Côte-St-Luc, Que., on Sept 4.

The much-needed drop-in centre for frail seniors in Côte-St-Luc, Que., will continue thanks to a major grant from the federal government.

Mount Royal Liberal MP Anthony Housefather announced on Sept. 4 that the Cummings Centre Therapeutic Dementia Care Program is receiving $922,025 over 46 months. That funding ensures the drop-in centre, located at the municipal Côte-St-Luc Aquatic and Community Centre, will carry on for at least that long.

The program, which is run by the Cummings Centre, was created three years ago, in response to the closing of a long-running day program for frail seniors at the CLSC René-Cassin in Côte-St-Luc. It was made possible by the federal government’s pledge of $391,000 over three years.

It provides programming for seniors, many of whom have been diagnosed with dementia, that is designed to maintain their cognitive and social abilities. It also provides respite and support for their caregivers.

The new money is being provided by Health Canada’s Dementia Community Investment program, which supports community-based projects that benefit those with the disease and their caregivers.

The drop-in program was started as a collaborative effort between all levels of government and the Cummings Centre.

We are so pleased that federal funding has once again been made available for this worthy project.
– Mitchell Brownstein

“I initiated this project when I was still mayor of Côte-St-Luc in 2015 and residents of the West End approached me who were desperate to keep this vital service in place” after the René-Cassin program ended, Housefather said.

“When I was elected an MP, one of my first priorities was to secure funding for the drop-in program, which we did by obtaining $390,913 over three years under the federal government’s New Horizons for Seniors Program. I have watched the program operate successfully and help caregivers who desperately need respite and seniors who deserve these stimulating programs.”

With the initial funding running out, Housefather worked with the Cummings Centre, Côte-St-Luc Mayor Mitchell Brownstein, D’Arcy McGee MNA David Birnbaum and Health Minister Ginette Petitpas Taylor to find a way to keep the program going.

“I am extremely pleased to be part of a group that initiated the drop-in program and has worked to maintain it,” Birnbaum said. “I want to congratulate Anthony and the federal government on finding funding to continue this worthy endeavour.”

“The City of Côte St-Luc has benefited so much through being a partner in a project serving so many within our community,” Brownstein said. “The use of our aquatic and community centre for this program fits both the mission of the building and the needs of our local residents. We are so pleased that federal funding has once again been made available for this worthy project.”

The Cummings Centre’s executive director, Pauline Grunberg, added that, “We are pleased to use our expertise to run the program. My team, led by Erica Botner, has done phenomenal work over the last three years and we look forward to continuing and enhancing our program offering.”

The programming will be implemented in partnership with engAGE: Concordia University’s Centre for Research on Aging, which brings together researchers, students, practitioners, people living with dementia, caregivers and others, said Laurel Young, engAGE’s associate director and a certified music therapist.