Programs and Equipment for Residential Care Are at the Heart of Our New Fundraising Campaign

We’re so pleased to announce that our fundraising goal for this year’s campaign is to raise $2 million for the Residential Care Unit at the Saanich Peninsula Hospital! The funds are designated for new art, music and horticulture therapy programs and equipment, revitalization of the Unit’s Library, improved walkways for residents and for renovations to the two end-of-life (palliative) care rooms, plus equipping them for the comfort of residents and their family members who want to be together at the end of life.

Says Foundation Board President Paul Hames, “Even from family experience, I know that, regardless of age, the things that make life rich remain the same.” Art, music, literature, the outdoors, all are essential contributors to a person’s happiness and wellbeing. With an aging population like that of the Saanich Peninsula, these aspects are proving to be even more valuable than previously anticipated.

There is science behind this. Numerous studies show that activities such as painting, singing, reading and gardening contribute to benefit the emotional, mental and physical health of elders. Depression and anxiety are alleviated and those with dementia retain greater cognitive abilities, sociability and calmness increase and there is evidence indicating less medication is necessary to treat the symptoms that often accompany many neurological disorders.

Music can be a powerful tool in combating dementia, which affects a large percentage of people living in care, as evidenced in the “Alive Inside: A Story of Music and Memory”, 2014 Sundance Film Festival Audience Award-winner that shows the effects of music and memory are nothing short of miraculous. Neurological research shows that making art can improve cognitive functions by producing both new neural pathways and thicker, stronger dendrites. Gardening can be very beneficial as it serves as an enjoyable form of exercise and can also reduce stress levels and help prevent diseases such as osteoporosis.

In a 2015 report issued by the BC Office of the Seniors Advocate, BC seniors are prescribed too many drugs that could cause harm and too few visits from therapists who could improve their lives. About one-third of seniors in care were prescribed anti-psychotic drugs but only four per cent were diagnosed with psychiatric illness, said Isobel Mackenzie in her report, Placement, Drugs and Therapy…We Can Do Better.

As Paul Hames, our Board President, reminds us: “It is our hospital, but it is their home.”

For more information on music therapy:

“Alive Inside: A Story of Music and Memory” — Also available on Netflix

“Music Therapy and Older Adults Fact Sheet”

For more information on art therapy:

“Aging: What’s Art Got To Do With It?”

“Use of Art Therapy for Older People with Dementia”

“Benefits of Gardening for Seniors”

“Seniors get too many drugs, too little therapy: B.C. advocate” Times Colonist April 7, 2015

Please donate and help us reach our goal.

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