Langley foundation helps fill tubs for seniors

With funds from Fraser Health, the Langley Seniors Resource Centre was able to offer people baths for $10.

Now funding has been cut. The centre laid off one staff member and raised the price to $30, keeping most clients away.

There are various reasons why seniors can’t bathe themselves – limited mobility, inability to get into and out of a tub safely, instability, and more.

The Langley Care Foundation is helping fill tubs for the Community Bathing program, thanks to a $3,000 donation.

The foundation presented the funds Dec. 22 after the board decided it wanted to help.

The care foundation was created to fundraise for Langley Lodge but its mandate has been amended to help local seniors.

“If we hear about elderly cause, seniors causes in the community, we’ll definitely take a look at it,” said Patrick Matiowski, the director of fundraising.

The seniors centre obtained space downtown at 203rd Street and Douglas Crescent for its adult day programs and bathing programs.

The downtown location started operating July 1, the same time Fraser Health informed the LSRC it was cutting funding for community bathing.

The LSRC had just spent $38,000 on a new tub to replace its 22-year-old tub, in addition to other expenses such as a new water tank. It was soon evident that one tank was insufficient so a company donated a second tank.

The bathroom is equipped with a lift system and hydrotherapy devices such as jets to sooth joints and muscles, explained Kelly Brown, the LSRC director of adult day programs.

There’s a demand for the program. In fiscal year 2013/14, the centre provided 610 community baths of a total of 1,736 baths.

Most clients come from Langley/Cloverdale but Brown said she’s received a call from a person in Anmore asking to be able to come for the community bathing program.

Fraser Health is continuing to fund the bathing program for the adult day clients who have cognitive issues such as dementia but stopped funding for community bathing. Clients were told they could use home care instead.

Brown said the changes have meant a drop in client numbers. For many it’s for financial reasons and some don’t want home care workers in their homes. Anecdotally she’s hearing that some people are instead going to community pools, not bathing at all or having sponge baths.

The centre was providing up to seven baths per day, between adult day program clients and community bathing clients. Now the centre provides about four per day, with few community clients.

Brown has been to various community groups and others to tell about the program in an attempt to gather donations to keep the community bathing program going. She can be reached at 778-328-2302 ext. 1.

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