For years, Actionmarguerite St. Boniface has run an adult day centre aimed at keeping seniors in their own environment for as long as possible. “Many participants would be in a residence if this centre didn’t exist,” says Joerg Arnold, supervisor of the adult day centre. “Through this program, we create an environment where they can socialize.”

Irène Allarie has been coming to the centre for three years. “I come once a week. I remember my first visit was in February.” For her, this program is an opportunity to get out and meet others. “When you’re not doing that well, it’s not good to stay at home by yourself. At the centre, you can spend time with nice people, eat lunch and attend mass.”

The centre welcomes St. Boniface seniors, Monday to Friday. “In the mornings, we can accommodate up to 21 participants, who are with us from 8:30 a.m. to 2:00 p.m.,” says Joerg Arnold. “They have a snack together as well as a hot lunch. We also offer the program three afternoons a week, from 1:30 to 7:00 p.m., for up to ten participants.”

Even though she lives in a residence where some activities are offered, Irène Allarie likes getting out and going to Actionmarguerite St. Boniface. “I live in an apartment where we can play bingo and whist, and we sometimes organize a lunch. I also have my family who take good care of me and take me out a lot. I come here on Thursdays to get together with my good friends. We always do things in French. We have to work at it, which is good because we can start to forget it.”

She especially enjoys the variety of activities. “We play games, like bingo or shuffle board. They ask us questions and we have discussions that work our memory. We also do exercises. It’s important because we sometimes let ourselves go at home.”

All the workers facilitating the program are part of the Actionmarguerite recreation staff. “Claudette Vincent, who prepares the program, is certified in therapeutic recreation,” says Joerg Arnold. “We try to switch things up every week in addition to our regular activities. We also offer seasonal activities. For instance, during Festival du Voyageur, we invite people to lead special activities. When the warmer weather arrives, we do some gardening. Twice a month, two people give painting and crafts workshops. The program is always changing, and we also get suggestions from participants.”

Irène Allarie has shared her satisfaction with those around her. “I was talking about it with some of my neighbours, and one resident from the same block as me was interested. I just brought her, and she seems to like it! The people you meet are so nice. It’s like family here.”

The Actionmarguerite adult day centre, located at 185 Despins Street, is open to residents of St. Boniface, St. Vital and Windsor Park. Other centres around the city serve other neighbourhoods. However, there is one exception: “Thursday is our Francophone day. We are the only centre in Winnipeg with such a program, so we accept everyone,” says Joerg Arnold.

Arnold adds that the day centre also offers the only program for younger adults of its kind in Winnipeg. “There are 20 spots in this program, open to people under 65 years of age. It is currently full, and there is a waiting list.”

To register in the Adult Day Centre program, those interested must contact the Winnipeg Regional Health Authority’s Home Care by telephone at 204-940-1151 (Access St. Boniface) or 204-940-2070 (Access St. Vital).