Adult Day Program Enhances Well-being of South Asian Seniors

Upon the passing of her beloved husband, Ashraf’s world turned upside-down. The grief, the loss, the change in everyday life was devastating. Her children, concerned with her well-being, decided the best decision would be for her to move in with them.

But Ashraf did not improve. In her new environment, she didn’t know anyone other than her family, and she felt insecure about going out and meeting new people. The fact that English is not her first language only added to her feelings of apprehension. With no friends and without the ability to drive, Ashraf began spending her days in front of the television, alone, in her Richmond Hill, Ontario home.

The seclusion took a toll on her mental and physical health. Ashraf felt isolated and depressed – she felt she could not connect with anyone around her. Her mental state began to affect her physical wellness – she was no longer experiencing a healthy, active lifestyle. On top of that, pain from a previous back injury began to immobilize Ashraf, which made her even more depressed. Ashraf had no idea where to turn.

But in March 2012, Ashraf heard about a Newcomer / South Asian Adult Day Program, offered by CHATS – Community & Home Assistance to Seniors.

She was hesitant, but decided to attend an Open House to find out more.

The program – which is delivered in Gujarati, Hindi, Urdu, Bengali, Tagalog and English – follows the CHATS Wellness Framework: health promotion, engaging with life, optimizing physical and mental function, managing chronic illnesses, and caregiver support. Activities include health and wellness presentations, gentle exercise, computer training, games, crafts, outings, and a nutritious lunch. Health and wellness education is provided by local agencies, often with language-specific presentations and materials. Transportation is available to ensure seniors have easy access to the program.

The program is a local community hub; a safe place where seniors feel welcomed and supported by their peers, a place to gather, to share a meal with friends, a place to learn ways to manage their health and well-being, a way for people to stay connected and reduce social isolation. It is offered three days per week in Richmond Hill.

Ashraf joined the program, and since then, her life has changed for the better. She is experiencing the socialization that she was desperately missing. She is getting out of the house and enjoying the program’s activities, healthy meals, wellness education, and conversation with her new friends.

The physical exercise included in the program has helped with her back pain, and given her the skills to continue these activities in her own home. She has noticed a change in herself – she no longer feels the weight of the depression she felt during her days home alone.

“CHATS has made such a tremendous difference to my health and well-being,” she says. “The program has allowed me to make new friends, meet and talk to others about the everyday issues and challenges we face, and get some great support from the wonderful staff and volunteers who work there. The program relieves frustration, stress and depression. With these key benefits, my mental state and outlook on life has greatly improved and I’m starting to feel happy, healthy and stronger.”

CHATS is a not-for-profit charitable organization that provides programs and services to enhance the health, wellness and independence of more than 7,400 seniors and caregivers each year. CHATS offers a full range of in-home and community services that enable seniors to continue living in their own homes, such as in-home help and care, Meals on Wheels, transportation, home safety services, wellness/social programs, diversity outreach programs, caregiver support and education, hospital-to-home transition, and much more.

To find out more about CHATS, call toll-free, 1-877-452-4287 or Click HERE to visit the CHATS website.


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