The following is sponsored content from Baycrest@Home.
While the global pandemic has disrupted many aspects of our day-to-day life, seniors continue to bear the brunt of this crisis. Efforts to lower their risk of exposure to COVID have unfortunately increased their risk for loneliness and other threats to their health and happiness. Now families are looking at several more months of staying inside to evade both the winter weather and the virus.
Luckily, the current crisis has also sparked innovation from local experts in seniors care. A team at Baycrest—a global leader in aging and brain health—has developed a way to bring its expertise beyond its Toronto campus and into homes where it is needed today.
Baycrest@Home’s suite of virtual services unlocks new options for older adults living with cognitive impairment, and the families that help care for them.
“Watching out for an older adult that needs help to live at home can be stressful at the best of times. These haven’t been the best of times. But there are a lot of exciting and accessible opportunities for families to consider from our program—families don’t have to do this alone,” says Ron Riesenbach, Baycrest’s VP of Innovation, and the executive lead of Baycrest@Home.
One of its key offerings is a specialized virtual program that delivers a rich mix of live and recorded classes and events to one’s home via video. “Our goal is to engage people in stimulating, meaningful experiences by building a virtual community that creates opportunities to move, share, sing, laugh, discuss, create, learn and relax,” says Riesenbach. “This has been particularly important at a time when so many people feel isolated and find themselves unable to visit a facility or connect with friends and family in person.”
Leveraging simple household internet and telephone technology, Baycrest@Home uses videoconferencing software to bring a daily schedule of live, interactive programming that includes instructional art, discussion groups, spiritual care, fitness and more, all to be enjoyed from the comfort of home.
But the program offers more than social programming. It provides expert advice to family caregivers, addressing questions about health, the healthcare system, dementia, and more.
“Too often, families face the challenges of aging at home alone or without the necessary resources or support systems to care for a relative living with cognitive or memory decline,” said Dr. Adriana Shnall, Program Director of Baycrest’s Koschitzky Centre for Innovations in Caregiving. “Dementia can isolate older adults from their friends, and family caregivers from the world. Baycrest@Home connects families with services and expertise that brings safe, valuable social engagement directly into the home, where they’re needed.”
“Caregivers have a tendency to put themselves last. More often than not, they experience a great deal of stress and anxiety which not only impacts them, but the care recipient as well,” explains Shnall. “They’re often too busy to even ask for help, so Baycrest@Home lets caregivers access help how and when works best for them, including live sessions facilitated by qualified social workers as well as the ability to simply pick up the phone and call when they have a question.”
A monthly Baycrest@Home subscription offers access to a one-of-a kind virtual platform designed and developed to address the needs of older adults with dementia and their family. Members receive a daily schedule of live recreation sessions adding up to nearly 40 hours of live programming, seven days per week, morning, day and evening. Participants choose when, and how much they would like to engage. Family caregivers also gain access to a variety of online supports, and can pick up the phone and call whenever they need expert help or advice.
At a time when it can be more difficult than ever to access day programs due to pandemic-related restrictions, Baycrest@Home delivers a wide-variety of programs and services designed by a highly-experienced team of experts, backed by an organization with over 100 years of accumulated expertise.
“We are enriching the lives of older adults by empowering them to live safely, happily and longer at home with quality programing, family support, and professional expertise enabled by technology,” notes Riesenbach. “Baycrest is committed to ending dementia and to giving everyone the tools they need to fear no age.”