Not so long ago KFL&A Alzheimer Society only operated out of Kingston. Wisely we were recognized as remotely located and in need of access to service within our own area.
Magic sometimes happens. The Land of Lakes Lions Club quickly gathered and converted an abandoned basement room in their hall into a modern functioning office for us. All accomplished voluntarily. We can't thank you enough. Little more than a year later, we have some achievements to brag about.
During volunteer week in April, a volunteer appreciation event was attended by folks who care. There were 42 of the 66 volunteers in attendance, Lions Club, the Forget Me Nots, the Golden Girls, the Old Pharts Club, Knitters/Crocheters, Roger Hermer representing his band of musicians and some individual people who help out.
The Cloggers entertained us with lively music and dance and a lovely lunch was set out. The program included brain exercises, a short video of the year's Alzheimers related volunteering and an emotional discussion with current caregivers of loved ones.
One feels so helpless in a situation where the caregiver desperately needs support yet it is not a realistic option.
In most cases the patient rejects unfamiliar persons and becomes agitated by the mere suggestion of a visit. The caregiver needs a break but daren't step away lest needed. The patient tends to be frightened and confused knowing that changes are happening, that control is slipping away. This is as much of a challenge to the Alzheimer Society as the disease itself.
Some progress in diagnosis has been made over the years but a cure is illusive. Treatment, medication and stimulation help minimally and only in the early stages. The volunteer groups are wonderful at providing stimulation.
Giving freely of their time to visit Pine Meadow Nursing Home and the Sharbot Lake Seniors Residence with music, dance, singing, crafts and conversation. It's uplifting to watch foot tapping, hand clapping and even singing along from patients. When guided through crafts, proud smiles of accomplishment are all the thanks needed.
At Christmas, twiddle muffs made by volunteers were distributed to elderly folks in the area. These provide idle fingers with fidget soothing shapes and textures as well as warmth. The afternoon wrapped up with a ball of yarn, a very large circle of volunteers, symbolizing a web of support, demonstrating how we are all connected and needed to keep our Community healthy. We said our good-byes to the song “ I think you’re wonderful.”
Our branch of the Alzheimer Society is capably operated by Pam Lemke, who organized and directed the volunteer groups and who hosted and planned the Volunteer Appreciation Event.
Lisa Hirvi, the Administrator of Fairmount Home, presented the broad outline of the strategic planning exercise that Fairmount staff has undertaken to a meeting of Frontenac County Council last week.
Fairmount Home, a 128 bed long term care facility, is located on the same property as the Frontenac County Offices in Glenburnie, in rural Kingston. The Home is owned and operated by Frontenac County. It is not only the largest and most valuable physical asset of Frontenac County, it is also one of the two largest services that the county offers. Upper tier municipalities in Ontario, such as Frontenac County, are required to operate or participate in funding a long term care facility and Fairmount satisfies that requirement for Frontenac County. Although access to long term care facilities is not effected by municipal borders, residents of the southeastern portion of Frontenac County have made Fairmount their home of choice, as it is for many residents of Kingston and other municipalities in the region.
Over ten years ago, Fairmount made a commitment to the Gentlecare philosophy, which the Home defines in the following way on their web page: “resident-focused care which empowers residents to make as many choices as possible. Staff knows each resident and responds to their social as well as psychological and physical needs. They put the resident first before the task at hand and acknowledge that risk is a normal part of life. Most importantly, they treat the residents as they would wish to be treated.”
The new Strategic Plan reasserts the commitment to Gentlecare, listing it as the key means of accomplishing the #1 goal identified in the Strat Plan: “to provide quality care and meet the diverse and unique needs of our residents”.
The other goals that were identified in the plan include: being the preferred place to work and volunteer in the local health care sector; expanding engagement with broader community and system partners, and; ensuring Fairmount operates efficiently while striving for continuous improvement.
Among the key goals identified in the plan is to identify the generational needs of staff and incorporate flexibility.
“This is something we have had to do recently,” Hirvi pointed out, “as the Administrator and Director of Care positions have turned over. We will deal with other challenges as we move forward, and making sure we are a good place to work is important in enabling us to recruit people.”
In receiving the report, one of the members of Frontenac County Council asked about the necessity to promote and market Fairmount, given that the home already has a long waiting list and has had one for years.
“We need to maintain and enhance our contacts with the community and with our funders, in the interest of patients. Fairmount is a community asset, we need to have a public profile,” Hirvi said.
After Hirvi’s presentation was received and the plan was adopted, Frontenac County Chief Administrative Officer Kelly Pender informed Council that the Province of Ontario had just put out a “Request for Expression of Interest” in creating new long term care beds.
Although Councilors expressed concern over potential increases in costs, Pender pointed out that if Fairmount were 50% larger, certain administration costs would not go up, leading to efficiencies and relative cost savings. “With 172 beds there is still only one Administrator, one Director of Care, one food service,” Pender said.
By responding to the call, the county would not be making any commitment.
“It will be up to council to decide whether to go ahead with anything, Pender said, also pointing out that the debenture for the most recent expansion of Fairmount will be paid off in 2022.
“We could build without having to make any change in our budget if it only meant continuing with a new debenture after 2022,” Pender said.
Council instructed Pender to prepare a submission to the Request for Expressions of Interest.
The cost of providing rides to seniors and others (for medical appointments, other appointments and shopping/entertainment) is very expensive, Frontenac Transportation Services administrator Gail Young told North Frontenac Council at its regular meeting last Friday in Plevna.
Young, along with Rural Frontenac Community Services director Louise Moody were there at Council’s request, which came at a previous Council meeting in Harlowe.
“Being raised in Henderson, I know the challenges,” Young said. “One of the big issues in this area is that the LHIN (Local Health Integration Network) will only pay for the time the client is in the car so we have to pay for getting drivers to the client.
“We’re working on keeping those costs down.”
“Our problem is geography,” said Moody. “It’s a long way to anywhere and we don’t have a hub like say Bancroft does.
“We’re trying a number of different programs (a Trillium application in 2016 was unsuccessful).”
The average ride in South Frontenac costs $30. The average ride in Central Frontenac costs $55 but the average ride in North Frontenac costs $91.
With 301 rides from April 1 to Dec. 31, North Frontenac accounted for 7 per cent of the ridership. However, at a cost of $41,033, it also accounted for 16 per cent of the total costs. Central Frontenac had 2,511 rides or 56 per cent and 56 per cent of the costs at $140,144. South Frontenac had 1,709 rides or 37 per cent for $68,918 or 28 per cent of the costs.
“It is expensive but I know at least two elderly ladies who are too proud to ask for a subsidy,” said Coun. Gerry Martin.
“We don’t like to call it a subsidy, we say ‘you pay half,’” said Young.
“If the LHIN’s goal is for seniors to age at home, then these programs have to be free,” said Moody.
Mayor Ron Higgins made a friendly amendment to a resolution to publicize the service and call for volunteer drivers.
He also suggested the County could become involved but “if we’re going to ask the County for money then we have to include all four Townships.”
• • •
North Frontenac formally passed its 2018 budget which is now available on the Township website. North Frontenac is asking its ratepayers for 1.42 per cent more than it did in 2017 or $5,765,957. Property assessment increased by 2.48 per cent and while the education portion of the tax bill decreased by 2.82 per cent, the County portion increased by 4.19 per cent.
• • •
This was the first meeting in the new Council Chambers. It’s certainly larger than the room over the fire garage with more room for spectators, a larger municipality style horseshoe arrangement for Council and surprisingly good acoustics.
“The committee knows we need some form of seniors housing, tell us what . . .” Central Frontenac Mayor Frances Smith told a gathering last Thursday afternoon at Oso Hall to discuss seniors housing in the Township.
To that end, the committee (Smith, Coun. Bill MacDonald, RFCS director Louise Moody, Pat Fisher and Peggy Hurley) has been asking residents to fill out a survey that asks questions related to people’s thoughts about what seniors housing should look like in the Township. To date, they’ve received about 50 surveys, many of which were filled out by the 45 or so people that came out to the information session. (You can still get a survey at the Township office or fill one out online at the Township website).
“I know there’s a need because I have a couple of rental properties and they’re always full simply from word of mouth,” Smith said. “We know there’s a need for more than just seniors housing — single males for example.
“But the County has given us money to specifically look at seniors housing.”
To that end, the committee hired Ed Starr of SHS Consulting and Ken Foulds of Re/Fact Consulting to produce a report.
“You’re fighting with the economics to make the bricks and mortar work,” said Foulds. “Frontenac Islands took three years to get a building up and South Frontenac is just at the point of marshalling resources.”
“It’s cheaper to build outside the hamlets but people want amenities,” said Starr. “The average building costs are $200 per square foot which means about $200,000 for a small apartment.
“And Central Frontenac is one of the few areas where the population has declined.
“There has been a diaspora out of Toronto where people sell their expensive Toronto properties, come here, pay cash and bank the rest, driving up prices but often health and service needs force them back to the city.”
The consultants summarized their findings as:
• Modest growth over the next 20 years
• Seniors will continue to be a significant age cohort
• Housing choices for seniors will change as they age, hence a need for flexibility/options
• There are limited housing options to suit them and existing stock is aging
• Affordability will continue to be an issue for some, especially renters.
They said the next steps are:
• Complete survey results and analysis
• Develop project concept based on needs
• Explore location/site options
• Determine development parameters
• Test financial feasibility
• Establish governance model and partnerships
• Develop a business plan document
Seniors who live in South Frontenac are encouraged to complete a survey on seniors services, and whether individuals in South Frontenac feel involved in the development of senior services in their area.
The survey is part of a research project by Nicole Raymer, an M.A. candidate in the Department of Geography at Queen’s University, and is funded by the Social Sciences and Humanities Research Council of Canada.
Results from the surveys will also be shared, anonymously, with Southern Frontenac Community Services, a local community service organization.
“The response has been good so far,” says Raymer, “but getting more completed surveys means we have even better data to support our research, and to share with the community.” The surveys take about 15 minutes to complete, and there is an option to participate in a follow up interview: “What’s been really great, is the willingness of such a high proportion of respondents who are willing to participate in a more in-depth interview.” The research will be wrapping up at the end of February.
Southern Frontenac Community Services has been promoting the survey project, as they will be able to glean information from the results to provide better services in the region. Says Executive Director, David Townsend, “Demand for seniors’ services is growing, we see that every day. Especially in light of some recent funding we received to expand seniors programming, this information from the study will really help us design responsive programs, and find ways to involve more seniors in deciding what we should be offering.”
Central Frontenac Township has scheduled Feb. 8 for a Seniors Forum at Oso Hall in Sharbot Lake from 2-4 p.m. and 7-9 p.m. to get feedback on the need for seniors housing in the Township, Mayor Frances Smith told Council at its regular meeting Tuesday evening in Sharbot Lake.
“The Seniors Housing Committee has come up with a survey we hope many people will fill out so we can determine need and interest,” she said.
Smith said the survey is short and has questions like ‘is there a need for seniors oriented housing in Central Frontenac?’ and ‘if so, where would you be willing to live?’
She said she and committee members Bill MacDonald and Louise Moody have taken sample copies to seniors lunches and Clerk-administrator Cathy MacMunn said they’ve already gotten three completed surveys back.
“There will be computers at the forum and people to assist filling out forms and there are also paper copies available at the Township Office,” Smith said. “Also, if you’re involved with any of the various agencies that assist seniors, they’ll have them as well.
“But we really hope a lot of people come out to the forum so we can hear from you personally.”
Frontenac County has money committed to building seniors facilities for each of its constituent townships. Frontenac Islands completed a residence under the program on Wolfe Island just before Christmas.
Somehow, they fooled Leeanne White.
She was going up to what she calls “the government lunch” in Ompah, the monthly Rural Frontenac Community Services Diners lunch at the newly renovated hall, and she said she “just happened to say to my friend that it was coming up on my birthday, and the next thing you know when I got to Ompah they had a cake out and Catherine Tysick was asking all these questions of me, like how much family I had and what work did I do and so on. I would like to thank the people who put it on. They got me,” she said when contacted over the phone earlier this week.
She is not entirely surprised that has lived such a long life. “My grandmother lived to be 102,” she said.
Last week, Leeanne moved past that milestone when she celebrated her 103rd birthday.
She hasn’t changed a lot on the three and half years since she was interviewed by the Frontenac News for a feature and video on the occasion of the 150th anniversary of Frontenac County.
Except for one thing. She no longer drives, and that is something she is not very happy about. In fact she pretty frosted about it.
“They just don’t want me to drive any more. I was just too slow on the draw for my doctor. But I tell you I’ve driven ever since I was 12 or 14 years old and I never had an accident in all that time, even drove mail for 38 years, but not any more. They just didn’t have anything better to do so they took it out on me,” she said.
She does get rides to places from neighbours and relatives but finds it frustrating having to depend on other people to get places, so she said that she stays home most of the time.
But she doesn’t idle away the hours too much. She still bakes all her own bread, gets her own meals, knits all the time, and keeps the house together. Any who helps her out and isn’t willing to take money for it ends up going home with new socks and mitts.
She said she doesn’t make fires in her woodstove too often anymore, “except when the hydro goes out or family comes to visit because they are in and out so much when they are here, that it gets cold and we need a fire.”
This past Christmas she made the dinner for 18, just like she normally does, even though she has problems with her knee. “I’m still doing okay,” she said, “and I have Catherine [RFCS Director of Adult Services Catherine Tysick] checking up on me.”
By keeping busy she avoids being lonely, but said misses all the people she used to know in the Fernleigh area, where she has been living since 1932.
“There were a lot of people here, but there isn’t anyone left,” she said.
A feature and a video on Lee White is posted at Frontenacnews.ca
When Council reconvened from a closed session for their regular meeting, CAO Orr announced that they had just accepted Fire Chief Rick Chesebrough’s resignation; after more than 14 years of service for the township, Chesebrough will be leaving at the end of this week.
Later, Orr said this did not come as a surprise; “It’s been in the works for some time now: he did the math, and realized he was eligible.”
On behalf of Council, Mayor Vandewal congratulated Chesebrough, wishing him “many years of health and happiness.”
Council then passed a motion to appoint Terry Gervais as acting fire chief.
Support for Seniors Active Living Centre
Following last week’s presentation by David Townsend of SFCSC, Council moved to allocate 20% of the net annual operating costs to support SFCSC’s proposed Seniors Active Living Centre funding application, to a maximum of $12,000 annually over the next three years in a combination of cash and in-kind services to be negotiated annually with the Township.”
It has been suggested that with the ongoing support of the township, the SFCSC Board may wish to consider inviting a member of Council to sit on their Board.
Tax Sale Policy
Council approved a revised tax sale policy which incorporates the legislative changes from Bill 68. Two related by-laws authorized the treasurer to enter into extension agreements and provided for an administration fee to be charged once the tax sale process is undertaken.
Details about the sale of properties in tax arrears and a flow chart describing the process are available on the Township website, or at the Township office.
Township Granted $80,882 for Commuter Cycling Program
The township’s application through the Public Works department for funding from the Ontario Municipal Commuter Cycling Program has been successful: it will be applied to one of two projects planned for this coming year: fully paved bike lanes between Harrowsmith and Sydenham, or a bike lane adjoining a pedestrian sidewalk along the south side Bedford Road between the end of George Street and Alton Road in Sydenham. Public Works Manager Segsworth also plans to fit in a bike lane on the north side of Bedford; Mayor Vandewal questioned whether this might narrow a busy stretch of road too much. Segsworth replied that because of the busyness of the road, it was also a very dangerous stretch for bicycles.
Storrington Centre Upgrades
Council directed staff to issue an RFP for improvements to the Storrington Centre, to include a new optic system, accessible washrooms and entrances, kitchen upgrades and a new folding wall. $333,000 has been approved in the 2018 capital budget, for this. Councillor Sleeth thanked the Township’s Public Works staff and the Storrington Recreation Committee for all their help in planning the project.
Back-up Generator for OPP Station
Council has approved purchase of a backup generator to provide overall backup power for the OPP building at Hartington. This had been held up when Councillor Revill questioned whether a second generator was needed. Further investigation showed that the existing generator on site at the OPP station only provides fire pump back-up power for the sprinkler system.
On the recommendation of Corporate Services Committee, Council agreed to extend the contract with Frontenac Municipal Law Enforcement Inc. for a further two years from March 1, 2018 to Feb 28, 2020.
The 2018 members to serve on the Committee of Adjustment will be: Al Revill, Ross Sutherland, Brad Barbeau and Ron Sleeth.
There being no further questions for the planner, Council approved the zoning of a new waterfront lot on South Basin of Buck Lake, Loughborough district.
Council adopted the Corporate Services Committee’s recommendation to maintain the Township’s current investment strategy and to issue an RFP for investment advisory services.
A proposed by-law to amend speed limits on Rutledge Road was, on Councillor Revill’s recommendation, referred to the Public Works Committee for discussion.
Who cares for the caregiver? That question and more will be answered this November in a presentation by a committee designed to improve the quality of life for seniors in Frontenac County. “Seniors and Law Enforcement Together (SALT) is a community initiative the OPP brought forward,” explains Roop Sandhu, Community Safety Officer for Frontenac OPP. “The committee meets every month. Every second month, we hold a seniors safety event.”
According to Const. Sandhu, SALT picks the topic & speaker and provides a free lunch and short presentation on senior’s safety. The presentations range in topics and are held in different locations across the region. They are purposefully kept to a manageable 20-30 minutes. “We float around,” confirms the Community Safety Officer. “A lot of people like to stay in their area.”
Reflecting on the program’s success, Const. Sandhu notes, “It has gone very well. We now have a base and we’re trying to expand it.” The topic this November is Care & Compassion and Caregiver Burnout with a focus on understanding the needs of taking care of seniors and coping techniques to avoid caregiver burnout. The first will be held at the Verona Lions Centre on Nov. 3. The second is at Battersea United Church on Nov. 24.
Funded by a New Horizons Grant, the presentations are organized by a committee composed of the OPP, Southern Frontenac Community Services Corporation (SFCSC), KFL&A Public Health Unit, Rural Kingston Nurses, Sydenham Women’s Institute, Verona Lions Club, Verona Community Association, South Frontenac Township and a handful of volunteers.
Residents interested in attending this event are asked to pre-register by calling the SFCSC office at 613-376-6477 by Nov. 1 (for the Verona Lion’s Centre) and Nov. 22 (for Battersea United Church). For residents who require a ride, transportation can be arranged through Frontenac Transportaion Services. These lunch & learn events begin at 11:30 am and end at 1:30 pm.
The next session features Falls Prevention & Seniors Exercise Opportunities at Grace Hall in Sydenham on Jan. 12 and Glendower on Jan 26.
“June is Seniors Month and Volunteers Month,” Central Frontenac Mayor Frances Smith said at a special ceremony Tuesday afternoon at Oso Hall in Sharbot Lake. “We take this opportunity to appreciated them.
“Most volunteers do it quietly, they’re not the kind to go out and hang signs.”
And so they gathered, representatives from each of the districts nominated their choices and the certificates were printed.
First to be so honoured was Kennebec’s Ronda Noble.
Noble came to Arden to retire in 2010 after being an office manager for a prominent law firm in Toronto that included Toronto’s current mayor.
“She’s very involved in the community, as secretary of the Legion, a member of the Heritage Festival committee, and the Friends of Arden steering committee,” said Coun. Tom Dewey. “She drives people to appointments in Perth, Napanee and Kingston.
“And she hates to lose at euchre.”
Mayor Smith presented Olden’s recipient, former Coun. John Purdon.
“John retired to his wife Maxine’s family home in 2001 after a successful career in the civil service,” Smith said. “He’s chair of the United Church fundraising committee, president of the Mountain Grove 51+ Club and is still on the Library Board.
“He plays euchre in Arden and is on the Arden Seniors Slow-pitch club where he has his own cheer.”
She said that since Purdon left Council, she’s had to read the agendas more carefully because Purdon was the one who caught typos, spelling mistakes and errors in arithmetic.
“Why I’m here today basically is because I volunteer,” Purdon said. “And why do I volunteer?
“My late wife knew a lot of people here and I knew nobody.
“She liked to volunteer and so I volunteered with her to get out and meet people.”
Coun. Bill MacDonald presented Oso’s joint honorees, Alvin and Diane Lake.
“Al’s lived in Sharbot Lake all his life and Diane’s been here for 44 years,” MacDonald said. “They are both Sharbot Lake High School grads.”
MacDonald said he remembers Alvin as a great coach of many teams as well as a driver for the Cancer Society and meals-on-wheels. Diane was a Girl Guides leader and active in the United Church.
“What I remember most is the Ice Storm,” he said. “I remember them feeding up to 200 people daily in the gym and making door-to-door checks.
“If there’s such a thing as a fabric of a community, these folks would be a big part of this one.”
“It’s all the community,” said Diane.
Coun. Phillip Smith and Dep. Mayor Brent Cameron jointly presented Hinchinbrooke’s honoree, musician Gord Struthers.
“Gord was born and raised in the Piccadilly area and is a unique individual,” said Cameron. “He was one of the originals at the Piccadilly Jam and never turned down a request to play whatever the cause or occasion.
“His gift is his music and he is putting together a historical and cultural record of songs on Facebook and YouTube.”
Cameron explained that Struthers couldn’t be in attendance for the ceremony because of being diagnosed in April with ALS — Lou Gehrig’s Disease. His daughter Sherry was there to accept the award on behalf of her father.
“Dad took a fall and it is heartbreaking for him to not be able to attend because he has such a gift for gab,” she said. “He spent countless hours picking, singing and yodelling and if people asked, he answered.
“This really means more to him than I could ever convey.”