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What’s Up at Abbotsford

 

By: Pat Goyeche

Abbotsford Seniors Centre continues to offer in-person and Zoom programming and clubs for seniors 55 plus this spring.  The weather is encouraging. Melting ice and snow with the spring thaw brings hope for renewal.  Spring also brings new change and we are all certainly ready for that, with the lifting of some of the measures that have kept us apart physically.

At the time this article was written, Abbotsford continues to monitor and screen all of our patrons. We are committed to keeping you confident that you will be able to enjoy programming and club activities in a safe, relaxed and fun environment.  Keep up with the latest on our public health measures by visiting our website: www.glebecentre.ca under ‘What’s Up at Abbotsford’.

The house is buzzing with busy bee volunteers who are sorting, pricing and storing flea market items, books, art, jewelry and women’s clothing for the Great Glebe Garage sale, to be held on Saturday, May 28th this year.  We owe a great deal to our enthusiastic volunteers who help us raise much-needed dollars for our operations.  We are not fully funded and rely on the donations we are given by the greater community to help operate our not-for-profit centre.  Thank you all for your contributions, which we gladly receive Monday – Friday 8:30 am – 4:30 pm.

Abbotsford House is 150 years old this year!  We are celebrating by sharing our history as part of Doors Open Ottawa on Sunday June 5th.  We will be bringing out archival photographs and sharing stories of days gone by when the house was a mansion that Alexander Mutchmor built in ‘cottage country’ in 1872!  If you have any history or photographs of the house to share, please get in touch with us, we would love to share those memories widely.

To help celebrate our 150th anniversary we will be hosting a Gala on Friday, October 14th in the Horticultural Building.   Save the date, as we promise to have an event to remember as we celebrate our history and our future as a community centre for seniors.

Fitness, dance, yoga, Spanish, French and art classes, as well lectures and clubs such as bridge, ping-pong and mah-jong are all in full swing this spring.  We have more in-person programming now and it is great to hear the laughter and the groans from the multipurpose room, as instructors encourage “one more set of 5 squats”!

We also have a full slate of virtual programming on offer using the Zoom platform.  Many of our members find it an easy way to keep fit and keep in touch without having to leave their homes.  We will continue to offer virtual programming into the future. We clearly heard that request from members in our most recent survey.

We are pleased to announce another initiative. For the first time, we are offering the option of on-line registration, starting in the summer of 2022.  We have been able to purchase a registration system due to the financial support of members and friends of Abbotsford House.  This will streamline registration, boost attendance and help us reach out to more seniors in greater Ottawa.  Staff are excited to use this tool that will help better serve our members and volunteers.

Zoom programming, MailChimp e-mail ‘missives’ and telephone calls have kept us in close contact with our members when it was not possible to open our doors or meet in person.  Keeping in contact has been so important for us all in these challenging times.  Many thanks to our members and volunteers who have supported one another over the past two years.

Hope springs eternal. We are pleased to offer more, see more of you and serve you better with our programming and our new registration system.  Abbotsford is 150 years young and growing.  Grow with us and join in our programming, fundraising and volunteering. We are always enthused to welcome new members and volunteers.

Day Away Programming at Abbotsford House

 

By Julie Ireton

 For Ian Calvert, whose wife Caroline has dementia, the Alzheimer’s-Dementia Day Away Program at Abbotsford House at the Glebe Centre, gives him the respite he needs every week.

“I can feel pretty alone as a caregiver, but I don’t feel alone, because people at Abbotsford are on my team,” said Calvert.

For the past three and a half years, his wife has been attending the day away program. Prior to COVID-19, she would attend one full day a week.

“For brain health we have to be physically and socially active. The variety of activities is great. The staff is terrific. They’re very caring, and they’re fun,” he said.

Due to pandemic restrictions, the program went online for months, but returned to half days in late 2021. There are plans to go back to full-days once it’s safe to do so.

While the activities and exercises keep Caroline engaged and active, he says it’s also a chance for him to take a walk or do errands on his own.

“It’s a break for me,” said Calvert who’s her primary caregiver.

The program is important for the clients with dementia, but it also means a lot to all the caregivers, notes Shirley Lee, Program Facilitator at Abbotsford.

They concentrate on three types of activities: physical, mental and social.

“We try to incorporate an exercise class. It could be a game where they have to lift, bend, sit and stand quite often. We do a lot of quizzes and reminiscing. And the  social component is connecting with others,” said Lee,

Before the pandemic, the program ran four days a week with 12 clients a day.

With the assistance of three or four volunteers, clients are able to gather in smaller groups based on interests and functionality. Games and activities are adapted and geared towards a person’s cognitive level.

“So they can succeed in whatever programming we’re trying to do,” said Lee.

The program adapted quickly as the pandemic took hold in 2020, introducing “senior centre without walls”, a teleconference program in which clients could dial in and participate in trivia or music challenges.

Since the program has a waitlist, the virtual program allowed potential clients who weren’t in the regular day program to start participating in the zoom activities.

“People were isolated. They didn’t have support services. So we opened up the zoom activities to anyone on the waitlist. It allowed us to get to know them,” said Lee.

“When we reopened and they arrived in person, we were familiar faces and voices.”

Given the isolation during the COVID lockdowns, especially in the winter, caregivers have been anxious for the schedule to go back to normal.

“My wife was always reserved, but now she’s more so. She has less confidence and doesn’t take initiative. But at Abbotsford, she really responds and she’s engaged. She’s clearly enjoying it,” said Calvert.

Clients for the Alzheimer’s-Dementia Day Away Program need a referral from Ontario Health and there continues to be a waiting list. The cost is $20 for a half day and $35 for a full day. Round trip transportation is also available for $12, for those in the Abbotsford catchment area.

Abbotsford is your community support centre for adults 55+. We are the community programs of The Glebe Centre Inc., a charitable, not-for-profit, organization which includes a 254-bed long-term care home. Find out more about our services by telephoning us: Mon.-Fri .9 a.m.– 4 p.m. at 613-230-5730 or by checking out all of The Glebe Centre facilities and Abbotsford Community Programs on our website www.glebecentre.ca .

 

 

Abbotsford In-Person Activities are Delayed not Cancelled

 

By: Pat Goyeche

Abbotsford House (Seniors Active Living Community Centre, the old stone house across from Lansdowne Park) remains open during this current wave of COVID, but things are not as they were in December.

Many of our in-person activities have been postponed until we can open up safely again in person.  At this time, our Day Programing for those enrolled in either Luncheon Club or Day Away has shifted to virtual programming.

Some clubs are in house and the Tuesday foot care appointments continue as usual for those members who show proof of vaccination.

Looking for Donations

We are currently open to and accepting donations of books, elegant treasures, jewelry, women’s clothing, art, and flea market items from the community.  Please drop by with your donated goods. We appreciate your contributions.  As a not for profit that is not fully-funded, we need to fundraise in order to keep our seniors programing and services vital and engaging.  Your contributions are also good for the environment, as we recycle, re-use, and help keep Abbotsford’s Active Living Centre ‘open and inviting’ for seniors in Ottawa; all at the same time!

In-Person and Virtual Programs

We are looking forward to starting up our Aerobics and Line Dancing classes in the spacious Horticultural Building at Lansdowne Park as soon as it feasible to do so.   This setting is ideal, as it is a very large venue with high ceilings and lots of space to keep fit and/or dance away your winter blues.  Keep abreast of any changes to our plans or schedule by accessing our website www.glebecentre.ca under Abbotsford Programs and Services and ‘What’s Up at Abbotsford’ for the most up-to-date information or by calling us at 613-230-5730.

Much of our programing, which includes Art, Fitness, Dance, Memoir, Book Club, Device Training, Yoga and Language classes, is continuing to be offered on line via Zoom.  We have different levels of fitness classes for different levels of ability.  Everyone can find the right level with our highly qualified and friendly older adult instructors.  If you are wondering what level is best for you, please contact us and we will help you find the right fit to keep you fit!  It is never too late to join in.

One of initiatives in these COVID times is the loan of individual tablets to our members so that they can connect virtually.  At this time our Day Programing has moved to virtual programming either over Zoom or Mercuri teleconferencing.  Members are encouraged to contact us and we will help connect you.

All of our programs are open to our members.  Membership costs $50 per person annually, beginning in January and running for the calendar year.  You must be 55 + to

join in!    You can join a class without a membership but you would pay an additional $25 for each class.  Your $50 membership fee gives you access to services, information and camaraderie.  If there is one thing we have learned in this pandemic, it is the importance of community and connection.  Helping to create and maintain community for our membership has been a key to combatting social isolation for many of our members.

Snow Go

 ‘Snow Go’ refers seniors and adults with disabilities to snow removal contractors who have passed a screening test, are properly registered and insured.

The Snow Go Assist program is for people over 60 years old or those with disabilities who are defined as low income. The program will reimburse up to $250 of the cost of their snow removal for the season.

Low income is defined by the city as a single person who lives on $31,500 a year or $39,200 for a household of two or more.  Contact us if this would be helpful.

Abbotsford is your community support centre for Adults 55+.  We are the community programs of The Glebe Centre Inc., a charitable, not-for-profit, organization which includes a 254 bed long-term care home.  Find out more about our services by dropping by 950 Bank Street (the old stone house) Mon- Fri 8:30 am-4:30 pm, telephoning 613-230-5730 or by checking out all of The Glebe Centre facilities and community programs on our website www.glebecentre.ca

 

The Restoration of Abbotsford’s Front Porch is a Symbol of the Restoration of Engagement and Activity for our Seniors.

Bill Robertson, President of Members Council, Sarah Moriarty of Amica the Glebe and Lawrence Grant, Executive Director of the Glebe Centre cutting the ribbon after the restoration of the porch Nov. 19, 2021.

By: Pat Goyeche

What’s old is new again

The official cutting of the ribbon for Abbotsford House’s restored front porch took place on Friday November 19th. The original porch that would have been built just under 150 years ago was quite different that today’s version.  It was originally much longer (from the front door to underneath the front window) and the stairs faced Bank Street.  Over time the porch changed, as did the needs of those who at one time were housed in the building.  Around 1975 the house took on its present incarnation as a Seniors Centre, serving the Ottawa region by offering programming and services that help maintain and support seniors living in community.

The rotted pillars that were recently removed had been taken from a previous porch on the side of the building, most likely at the time of the renovation when the ‘home’ became a Seniors Centre in 1975.  The many photos of the porch over the years show varied pillars, steps, layout and materials.  In 1984 it became a heritage property and its facade was therefore protected by law.

Because of the building’s heritage status, many rules and regulations had to be followed in the redesign and rebuild of the porch. Because of this and our inexperience with such detailed work, an architect was hired to provide much-needed project management. Thus began an almost daily exchange of e-mails between the City, architect, builder and our own team on each and every detail.

Thanks to the generosity of numerous donors — including a will bequest from the late Ann Denis, an anonymous donor and a corporate donation from Amica (The Glebe,) as well as donations from Abbotsford members — the project got underway in June and has finally become a reality.

We are very grateful to everyone who saw the need for the restoration and we are so pleased to see the house looking as ‘loved’ on the outside as it is on the inside.

Abbotsford House with long porch circa 1930

Abbotsford House with sunflowers in front the ‘before’ restoration photo.

Back in person, and still online

In September of this year, we were finally able to open our doors to the public again.  Ping Pong, Mah Jong, Muscle Toning, Aerobics, Yoga, Stained Glass, Conversational French, and our Caregiver Club, to name but a few,  are among the many activities that are back and running strong again indoors!

We are currently selling homemade teddy bears, baby blankets, Christmas ornaments, puzzles, books, ladies’ clothing and jewelry and flea market items.  Stop in and support our volunteers who help keep Abbotsford viable by donating their talents and time to our not-for-profit Seniors Centre.

We have been adding more and more indoor classes and clubs as the fall has progressed. We will offer even more in the New Year, while continuing to offer electronical classes over ZOOM at the request of our large membership.  We will continue to ask those that participate or enter our building to show proof of double vaccination and to follow public health measures, in order to keep our members engaged and safe.

Memberships for 2022 will go on sale starting Wednesday, December 1st in advance of registration for winter classes the following week.  The cost is $50 and lasts for a full calendar year.  Look for a full list of January/February/March classes and clubs under Current Guide on our website www.glebecentre.ca and join in!

Collecting flea market items, books, jewelry, women’s clothing, puzzles and art once again…

We will start accepting these items in the New Year, with the plan to sell both “in house” Monday to Friday and at the Great Glebe Garage Sale in the spring.  Your donations of goods are most appreciated.

Please drop by to collect a paper copy of our guide, become a member or a patron, and admire our newly restored porch. Think of us when you think of seniors in the community. We have been: ‘Building Community Since 1975’!

Abbotsford House is more than a Building

 

By: Julie Ireton

Some seniors who have made Abbotsford House at the Glebe Centre part of their lives, for years, didn’t realize what the senior’s centre across from Lansdowne Park really meant to them until the forced COVID lock-downs and isolation began.

Before the pandemic hit in March of 2020, Judith Hoye took three exercise classes a week at Abbotsford at the Glebe Centre across from Lansdowne Park. Then she’d stay after class for social time, coffee, treats and laughs. “All that ended as COVID took over,” said Hoye.  But just because she couldn’t go to Abbotsford, didn’t mean her interaction with other members needed to end.

Hoye was one of the volunteers who started to make regular phone calls to half a dozen other seniors, keeping them up to date on how the centre and its staff might help them out, such as lending out tablets. She encouraged those isolated from friends and family to get involved in some of the “zoom” programming including online art classes. The phone calls and interactions benefited her too.  “Some of those people have become friends and although I have never met them, we will meet when the world rights itself and we can meet face-to-face,” said Hoye.

With vaccine mandates now in place, she plans to safely get back to some of the centre’s activities being offered.

“Abbotsford is a place where people meet and laugh,” said Hoye. “It provides a place where interesting people gather, do something useful, and keep our minds and our bodies stretched and resilient.”

The fitness classes are one of the reasons Merilyn Neilson is glad to be back at Abbotsford after several months away.   As a member of the functional fitness class, she says it helps with strength, mobility, balance and muscle tone. “I love it,” said Neilson who is also looking forward to the further easing of restrictions, possibly in the new year, so the Abbotsford bridge group can also get back to playing cards. “I think it’s an excellent facility. There should be more ‘Abbotsfords’.  I think it saves a lot of senior people in many ways with the friendships and the exercise.” Even though she’s not a “techie” Neilson said she did adjust to taking zoom art classes using watercolors and acrylics. “I was glad I did, it was better than nothing,” she said.  But being able to go back to the centre this fall has lifted her spirits. “Abbotsford is something we truly appreciate,” said Neilson. “It helps us stay in the community rather than finding other ways of living.”

Abbotsford member, Muriel Scott Smith is another member who recently got back to the centre to join her Mahjong club, an activity she’s been part of for the past 10 years. While Scott Smith didn’t take part in the zoom classes, she was able to access medical drives through Community Support Services.  She’s glad her Mahjong group is now back to meeting in person and is looking forward to the day the coffee and the lunches are back on track.

Pat Goyeche, the coordinator of Community Programming is pleased to see the folks back in the house and hopes that by the new year most of the favourite classes, clubs and social gatherings will be ‘in the house’ and at capacity.

The November and December programming of on-line and in-person classes and clubs are listed on the Glebe Centre website (www.glebecentre.ca) under ‘current program guide’.

Abbotsford is your Seniors Active Living Centre for Adults 55+.  It houses the community programs of The Glebe Centre Inc., a charitable, not-for-profit, organization which includes a 254 bed long term care home.  Find out more about our services by telephoning 613-230-5730 during regular business hours or by checking out all of The Glebe Centre facilities and community programs on our website www.glebecentre.ca

 

 

 

 

Abbotsford Serving Seniors in Community

 

By: Julie Ireton

 After too many months of isolation from friends and family, shutdowns, lockdowns and trying to figure out “zoom”, Ottawa seniors are more than ready to be back socializing at their senior’s centre across from Lansdowne Park.

“They’re ecstatic, some are almost moved to tears to be back and see people again,”

said Kirsten O’Brien, in the community support services department of Abbotsford at the Glebe Centre.

“There’s happiness just to be able to see friends, even at a distance and with masks, there’s a reconnecting and a real sense of community again.”

Visitors to Abbotsford must show that they’ve been double vaccinated and fitness classes have fewer people. Weather permitting, they’ve been able to move some activities outside this fall.

But the doors are open and people are returning.

“They are really enjoying contact and interaction. The Sing ‘N Jam club is singing and playing their hearts out on our patio and the two ping pong tables are getting a good workout on Friday mornings,” said Pat Goyeche, coordinator of community programs.  “We’ve even been able to rent larger spaces off site though a special grant which has allowed us to serve more folks safely.  These ‘pop-up’ fitness classes have been very popular!”

For clients who live alone or don’t have family nearby, Abbotsford and its activities, support groups, fitness classes and clubs can be a lifeline for some seniors, according to O’Brien.

“They are so willing to comply with all the safety measures, because the draw to see each other is so special and important,” she said.

Programs such as transportation to medical appointments didn’t stop throughout the pandemic and when the snow starts to fly, another service will also be available.

Snow Go

For seniors who aren’t looking forward to digging out the snow shovels, some city of Ottawa programs may be able to help.

‘Snow Go’ refers seniors and adults with disabilities to contractors who have passed a screening test, are properly registered and insured.

The Snow Go Assist program is for people over 60 years old or those with disabilities who are defined as low income. The program will reimburse up to $250 on the cost of their snow removal for the season.

Low income is defined by the city as a single person who lives on $31,500 a year or $39,200 for a household of two or more.

“If the person meets eligibility and provides documentation they can qualify,” said O’Brien.

Abbotsford is also continuing to support clients at home with phone and virtual programs, including many fitness classes that continue to be available online through Zoom.

But still, many members yearn for the day when there are even more activities available inside the centre.

“We get asked: when can we loiter again? When can we play bridge again?” said Goyeche.  “Our goal is to expand as it is safe to do so and add more in-person programming.”

Abbotsford is your Seniors Active Living Centre for Adults 55+.  It houses the community programs of The Glebe Centre Inc., a charitable, not-for-profit, organization which includes a 254 bed long term care home.  Find out more about our services by dropping by 950 Bank Street (the old stone house) Mon- Fri 9-4 pm, telephoning 613-230-5730 or by checking out all of The Glebe Centre facilities and community programs on our website www.glebecentre.ca

Food Hamper Project

 

Food Hamper Project

By

Kirsten O’Brien, Program Facilitator

At Abbotsford House, we connected by telephone and email with seniors remaining at home throughout the pandemic. During some wellness checks done by staff and volunteers, food security was mentioned as an ongoing issue for some seniors that we serve. We considered how we could support these seniors in the community during the pandemic.   For many it was the struggle to get to a store, not having a credit card for online shopping, the fear of going into a store, and for others it was having to shift finances to cover increased costs of all things associated with the pandemic.

Director of Community Programs, Karen Anne Blakely, applied for a grant through the Ontario Community Support Association to assist seniors who were struggling with food security. We received funds to be able to provide up to 50 food hampers. Staff reached out to the many seniors with whom we had spoken to in the early days of the pandemic who had identified the need. We made of list of clients, recruited volunteers, developed a delivery route and began to shop! Staff and volunteers took the time to personalize the food boxes, ensuring that what was in each box would meet the needs and preferences of each of the seniors. Deliveries of the food boxes were done by staff.

As our resources dwindled, we were fearful we would not be able to impact as many seniors as we had hoped. Then, Abbotsford House was fortunate to receive a $500.00 donation from the Glebe Metro! Owner Rebecca McKeen and her team never hesitated when they were approached to assist with this project. The team at Glebe Metro provided us with the resources to not only meet our target, but exceed our target. So far Abbotsford House has delivered 48 food boxes and the target is now increased to a total of 60 food boxes.

In addition to the donation, Glebe Metro provided Abbotsford House with a 5% discount on the grocery bills. A huge shout out to Rebecca McKeen and her team at Glebe Metro for helping with this Food Hamper project.

Clients stated their appreciation for the food hampers in their feedback to staff at Abbotsford House. We received comments such as: “Only a few people are full of compassion like you”; “You are truly an angel”; “… (the food box) was so generous, now I don’t have to arrange for someone to go get my groceries for at least a week”; and “Thank you for the food hampers. Bless you all for being part of this”.

Rebecca McKeen presents check for $500.00 for Food Box Project. Pictured are: (front row) Rebecca McKeen and Kirsten O’Brien, (back row) Nick Bermudez, Jane Stallabrass, Student Rahima Abdillahi. Missing from photo: volunteer Clara Luck. Photo credit: Pat Goyeche.

Abbotsford is your community support centre for Adults 55+.  We are the community programs of The Glebe Centre Inc., a charitable, not-for-profit, organization which includes a 254 bed long term care home.  Find out more about our services by dropping by 950 Bank Street (the old stone house) Mon- Fri 9-4 pm, telephoning 613-230-5730 or by checking out all of The Glebe Centre facilities and community programs on our website www.glebecentre.ca

The Sun is Shining on Abbotsford House

Daisy Wai

Parliamentary Assistant Daisy Wai joined in a class of Gotta Dance Broadway to help celebrate Seniors Month

By: Karen Anne Blakely

 As we work towards building community immunity, Abbotsford House is looking forward to a summer of online and telephone programs for older adults aged 55 plus with a shift toward in-person programs when it is safe to do so. For the summer programs, see what is on offer on our website www.glebecentre.ca under community programs. For new members, we are now offering a prorated membership fee of $25 for the rest of the year.  All of our summer classes will be virtual or on the telephone. We hope you enjoy visits to the gardens surrounding Abbotsford House on sunny days and have a rest on our commemorative metal bench as it is in the shade after 1 pm. We continue to stock the bookcase with books and puzzles so come have a look to find the best summer read. Call Elleni Adane, our new receptionist, at your convenience to pay for the books and puzzles. We have booklets on Cannabis and Older Adults published by Active Aging Canada for you take at no cost.

Our Community Support Services continue throughout the summer. If seniors or adults with disabilities require assistance getting to medical appointments or vaccine clinics, call and register with our transportation coordinator, Jane Stallabrass. Currently our paid drivers, Tim and Terry Dale are driving seniors to where they need to be in our air-conditioned Pro Master van.

Whatever you might require assistance with to remain at home safely, we will work with you to find solutions. Kirsten O’Brien helps seniors find home help, gardening help, and referrals for professionals and trades people. If you have need groceries, let us know, as we have a new grant to help low-income seniors access food hampers.

Nick Bermudez is assisting seniors to acquire tablets so they may get connected to programs, family and friends, perhaps a learn game, check email or get a Facebook account. On Facebook, you can like our Abbotsford and Glebe Centre pages to get regular updates about what is happening and enjoy photography of Abbotsford’s blossoming plants.

Janet Kuntz is offering support to caregivers on Zoom and sends out weekly emails with resources and other information to help those caring for loved ones at home or have a loved one living in long term care.

Cassandra Ford, Shirley Lee and Jen Dare, our dedicated and skilled Program Facilitators continue to provide Zoom and telephone programs for those living with dementia and are being cared for at home. They facilitate activities, fitness and engage in interesting discussion topics to keep seniors and caregivers involved and entertained. Porch and driveway visits at a safe distance have resumed and they are enjoying the pleasure of each other’s company after a long break.

Kirsten O’Brien and Jane Stallabrass with the help of a few wonderful long-time volunteers continue the Luncheon Club on the Seniors Centre Without Walls, telephone conferencing platform. Participants only need their telephones to connect with their friends, exchange updates on how everyone is doing and groan together at Kirsten’s jokes.

Later in the summer when second doses of the vaccine are in community members and after the allotted waiting period has occurred, we will be keen to present our re-opening plans. We hope to offer some fitness classes in larger venues and smaller class sizes so seniors can exercise with generous space between each person. We will need to get accustomed to being indoors with others not in our household.  Look for a mix of in person and Zoom programming in September. We look forward to communicating our plans to reopen Abbotsford House soon.

Abbotsford is your community support centre for Adults 55+.  We are the community programs of The Glebe Centre Inc., a charitable, not-for-profit, organization which includes a 254 bed long term care home.  Find out more about our services by telephoning us: Mon-Fri 8:30 am – 4:30 pm at 613-230-5730 or by checking out all of The Glebe Centre facilities and Abbotsford Community Programs on our website www.glebecentre.ca

 

Abbotsford Loan Tablets to Seniors in Community

 

By: Karen Anne Blakely, Director of Community Programs

Abbotsford House has commenced a special Seniors Tablet Project. The Champlain Community Support Network secured a collective purchase of internet-enabled tablets to be used by seniors and adults with disabilities in their homes in the community. Abbotsford House was given 10 tablets. The funding was secured through the provincial government, so there would be no cost to the client for use of one of these tablets.

The Royal Bank of Canada Foundation has generously donated an additional 12 tablets and protective cases for the tablet project.

Abbotsford House is also pleased to receive funding from the Government of Canada’s New Horizons for Seniors Program (NHSP) for the Abbotsford Seniors Stay Strong project, which includes a tablet loaning program to ensure seniors who experience barriers get the technology and help to use the technology to reduce isolation. The funds will pay for some tablets and accessories to loan to seniors, some online activities, training and wages.

All the tablets are android-based and are intended to be used by clients to access virtual care, participate in social and health programs, as well as help the older adults to engage with family and community through online platforms. The intent of this Seniors Tablet Project is to reduce barriers and support seniors and adults with disabilities living in community. Some seniors will require a lot of support to use the tablets and others have tech savvy family members who are able to assist them and they just require the tablet to get started.

Nick Bermudez is the staff person overseeing the project. He recently moved into a Program Facilitation position at Abbotsford House and he is looking forward to connecting with the members and clients of Abbotsford about this project. He will be setting up the tablets, promoting the program, dropping the tablets off at seniors’ homes, checking in by telephone and online. Nick will be supporting participants to use the tablets and connect members and clients to virtual programs, services and apps that interest them.

Over the next year, Nick will work with seniors to learn their interests, determine their abilities to use the tablets and offer some training. By the end of this project more seniors will have options to stay connected with others, get what they need online, get answers to questions they have about health and wellness or even book appointments with their doctor online. Perhaps some people will become active on Twitter, Instagram and TikTok! Others might play word games with their friends or listen to podcasts! We hope some will want to sign up for Zoom classes at Abbotsford House to learn a new language, do a fitness class or art class. These new technical skills will be useful now during the pandemic when we are restricting our movements and beyond during times when it is not possible to go outdoors due to inclement weather or moments of poor health.

Abbotsford is your community support centre for Adults 55+.  We are the community programs of The Glebe Centre Inc., a charitable, not-for-profit, organization which includes a 254 bed long term care home.  Find out more about our services by dropping by 950 Bank Street (the old stone house) Mon- Fri 8:30 am – 4:30 pm, telephoning 613-230-5730 or by checking out all of The Glebe Centre facilities and community programs on our website www.glebecentre.ca

Abbotsford House’s 150th Anniversary Celebration Next Year!

By: Karen Anne Blakely

In 2022 celebrations will be held to mark 150 years since the construction of Abbotsford House on Bank Street. With planning underway to recognize this major milestone it is worth noting to Abbotsford House members, clients and our Glebe neighbours of the work that has taken place and will be done in the coming months on our heritage-designated home.

In March, all the old shingles on the roof were removed and to our delight exposed an interesting design feature. Whereas one might usually see sheets of plywood under the shingles the roof instead was layered with barn boards. These long pieces of wood were two inches thick and for the most part in very good shape. We were advised to keep these in place and add plywood over these boards so that roofing nails would hold.  New soffits are coming in soon.  Fortunately funding for this very significant project came partially from a government grant.

Over the past five years, twenty-five new windows have been installed while the heritage wood windows facing Bank Street have been refurbished with the aid of grants.

Next on the list are the front porch and the intricate wood gabling adorning the roofline of the house. Due of the heritage designation, we have had to follow a series of steps in order to comply with City of Ottawa rules and regulations.

Working with Tim Davis Design, an architectural plan was developed for the porch. Once approved by the City we can the move forward with the renovation in June. Thankfully we had initiated conversations with an experienced heritage property contractor in 2020 so they were able to commit to this work.

This contractor has made a commitment to try and reuse wood from the original porch but that task will only be realized once the old porch is dismantled and each piece examined. Given the pandemic and significant increase in cost of materials and renovations this project will be more expensive than originally planned.

The final project for this year is refurbishment of the roofline gables. The next time you walk by Abbotsford House cast your gaze of to the roof. Attached to it are intricate circular wood gables (also called gingerbread). Unique in style, it is interesting to note that these gables are different in look at the front and back of our home.

Quotes for the gable work are expected in the coming weeks. It is expected that work will commence in the fall. Come December you will see the same historic house on Bank Street, only better.

Specific tax deductible donations for the porch and gable work have come from many committed Abbotsford members and friends in the neighbourhood, including a nice gift from Amica Mature Lifestyles.  Should you wish to make a gift please call Bruce Hill at 613-238-2727 ext. 316 or e-mail him at BHill@glebecentre.ca

Abbotsford House provides community programs and services. The building is currently closed to the public due to the pandemic however community support services and recreation programs for seniors aged 55+ and adults with disabilities living in the community are offered virtually on Zoom, on the Seniors Centre Without Walls telephone conferencing platform and by telephone.

Call us at 613-230-5730 for more information or visit our website at www.glebecentre.ca

 

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