The Eldercare Foundation grateful for donations as COVID-19 pandemic causes stress for seniors

WatchThe Eldercare Foundation grateful for donations as COVID-19 pandemic causes stress for seniors

Lori McLeod is Executive Director of the Eldercare Foundation.

With just two full-time and one half-time staff, it’s a small, but vital, Greater Victoria non-profit.

“The Eldercare Foundation is a registered charity” says McLeod, “and we raise money to support seniors, both in long term care and in community. We support six long-term care facilities – 700 residents – and we also support community programs for seniors to help them stay in their own homes longer.  Things like adult day programs, a community bathing program, a respite hotel, an education center, as well as our Safe Lifeline program, which provides a medical alarm service for our seniors that are at risk, to keep them safely at home.”

McLeod points out that the Eldercare Foundation receives no government funding. “We rely 100 per cent on donations from individuals and granting foundations.”

Which is why Eldercare is so grateful for your support.

“This community is absolutely amazing” says McLeod.  “We received a $14,000 grant from the Victoria Foundation’s Rapid Relief Fund, which was amazing.  That allowed us to clear our wait list for our Safe Lifeline program. We also had Scotiabank step up with $10,000 donation, and we had a matching gift appeal.  The community rallied, and by April 30th, we had that $10,000 matched!  We’ve already started purchasing all the things to help our long term care residents stay connected.  Some phones and some more tablets, so that the staff can facilitate video visits with the families.”

That connection with family is crucial.

“This pandemic has been really challenging. It’s pretty scary for seniors” says McLeod.  “Especially because we have a lot of folks [in our facilities] who have some form of dementia, so they just don’t understand why they can’t have their activities anymore, why there’s no more entertainment coming in, why their loved ones, their family and friends, can’t come and visit them anymore.

“Even our music therapists, who can’t come into the facilities anymore, did a special little video so that [residents] can still have their music therapy sessions, because that’s just so important.”

The Eldercare Foundation is not an accumulating charity.  Donations are spent as quickly as they’re received.  And that concerns McLeod, going forward.

“We’re also a little bit worried about small charities like ours, because there’s only so much capacity for people to give,” McLeod says.

“Already the therapy staff is saying ‘we’re wanting to start our gardening programs’, but we need more tools, and we need more planters, so that we can separate the seniors so that they’re safe, and they can be part of those kind of programs.  We’ve even [heard from] one of the granting foundations that we usually get specialized equipment from, and they’ve said ‘We’re not going to be doing our regular granting stream right now, because we’re busy with COVID.’ ”

McLeod says seniors are the ones that built this society and have given so much. She says she just wants to make sure that they can live out their lives with the dignity and the respect that they deserve.

Learn more about the Eldercare Foundation here.

Veronica CooperVeronica Cooper

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