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This holiday season, give the gift of care

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With two organizations and a dedicated group of accredited staff and trained volunteers, families with aging parents in Oxford, Elgin and Norfolk counties can rest assured knowing their loved ones will be well looked after when they’re in their care, no matter how far they are.

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Both the Tillsonburg Multi-Service Centre and its sister organization Stonebridge Community Services, provide preventative health and transportation services to seniors in the community, helping them stay healthy and maintain their independence.

“Stonebridge was developed because there were clients who didn’t qualify for the government-funded services offered through the Multi-Service Centre, and we wanted to be able to support them as well,” explains the MSC’s director of home support services, Diana Handsaeme, about the organizations that come together to provide services ensuring that nobody is ever left out or forgotten.

“It’s an interesting collaborative partnership.”

The support services provided by the MSC include meal delivery, assisted living, housekeeping, foot care, transportation and the Home at Last program for seniors transitioning between the hospital and home.

All the services are government-funded, based on specific eligibility criteria.

With Meals on Wheels (MOW), hot and healthy meals are delivered daily between 11:30 and 1 p.m., Monday to Friday, at the cost of $5.00 for an entrée, salad or soup and dessert. Frozen meals are delivered on Wednesdays at the same cost, and can be ordered on a weekly, biweekly or monthly basis.

The food preparation and delivery program sources local providers in all the areas it serves in order to provide a variety of comfort foods, and also helps support local restaurateurs, and caterers.

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Tillsonburg MSC is a lifeline for local seniors.
Tillsonburg MSC is a lifeline for local seniors. Photo by Getty Images

The frozen meal program is available throughout the county while the hot meals can be delivered to certain areas.

“When we deliver the meals, whether they’re frozen or hot, it’s a security check as well,” Handsaeme says, “because if someone isn’t answering the door, or they look unwell, or we notice that food is being left out and not eaten, we can follow up with family members immediately.”

And that’s the beauty of the program, she says.

With many of the seniors’ families living outside of the area — hours and even days away from their aging loved ones — the MSC and Stonebridge Community Services are like lifelines for them, seven days a week.

The one-on-one personalized basic foot care offered by the MSC is provided by trained personal support workers in home or in a clinic setting at The Livingston Centre in Tillsonburg, and includes a foot health assessment, a clean, cut and file finishing with lotion and a foot and lower leg massage.

Because the foot care is done regularly every four to six weeks, the meetings are an opportunity for the personal support workers to monitor the seniors’ ongoing health and check for telltale signs of trouble, such as bruising from falls, for example.

Stonebridge Community Services provides fee for service personal and respite care that includes in-home personal care, community wellness and exercise programs as well as foot care. The community exercise and falls prevention classes in Oxford and Norfolk counties are designed to help keep seniors stronger at home while building balance and improving mobility.

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Support services include meal delivery, assisted living, housekeeping, foot care, transportation and the Home at Last program for seniors transitioning between the hospital and home.
Support services include meal delivery, assisted living, housekeeping, foot care, transportation and the Home at Last program for seniors transitioning between the hospital and home. Photo by Getty Images

Pickleball and urban poling, which combines the upper body techniques of cross-country skiing with the lower body techniques of regular walking, are also offered through Stonebridge Community Services.

Transportation and MOW programs are volunteer-driven and help support seniors’ independence by ensuring they can get to regular doctor’s appointments or to activities that they might not have the ability to get to alone. Stonebridge also has opportunities for volunteers to assist in their falls and exercise classes in the community.

More volunteers are always needed and go a long way in ensuring both the MSC and Stonebridge can continue to offer the high-quality support services that they do.

Families can purchase gift certificates for either of the organization’s services throughout the year to show how much they care for their loved ones, even from afar. Since the holidays can be an especially difficult and lonely time for seniors, the gift certificates are a valuable way to check in.

A MOW client family member recently sent in a testimonial, “Thank you for your support of my mom, receiving a hot meal five days a week. She loves the food and is grateful for the check in by the volunteer who delivers. Thanks to the volunteer who knew her and saw she was struggling with walking and reported it. Our mom tried to hide she had fallen, and we got her to the ER, and they diagnosed her with a broken foot.  She has since been treated and is back home… receiving MOWs again.”

For more information about any of the support services provided by the Tillsonburg Multi-Service Centre or Stonebridge Community Services, visit multiservicecentre.com or stonebridgecs.com .

To purchase a gift certificate for a loved one for MSC or Stonebridge, email  mhunt@multiservicecentre.com or call 519-842-9008, ext. 317 to speak with Melissa.

This story was created by Content Works, Postmedia’s commercial content division, on behalf of the Tillsonburg Multi-Service Centre.

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