Over 200 people — clients, staff and guests — visited Rotacrest Hall on Wednesday to see the renovations and the new home of Better at Home and the Therapeutic Activation Program for Seniors (TAPS).
The renovations totalling nearly $350,000 included a $150,000 Columbia Basin Trust (CBT) grant to Valley Community Services (VCS), which operates Better at Home and TAPS, to overhaul the downstairs, and over $190,000 for the upstairs from the Regional District of Central Kootenay, which operates the hall through the Creston and District Community Complex.
“We need to have someplace for seniors to go,” RDCK Area C director Larry Binks said to assembled guests. “We don’t want them spread all over the community.”
TAPS, with over 70 clients, has been operating without permanent provincial government funding since 2005, relying on grants to operate in an aging School District No. 8 (Kootenay Lake) building on 22nd Avenue South. The day program makes its home in the Rotacrest Hall basement — unrecognizable compared to its pre-renovation form — along with Better at Home.
Managed by United Way of the Lower Mainland and funded by the Ministry of Health through VCS, Better at Home started operating in August, providing non-medical home help to about 90 clients.
The Creston New Horizons Seniors Society also operates during the day, but upstairs, which is now tastefully decorated in the same warm tones as downstairs.
“This move to the Rotacrest is part of the sustainability of the TAPS program and was a vision of a seniors centre of services — TAPS and Better at Home all in one central accessible location. … The program has been very important in helping us keep our seniors as independent as possible, and to help them thrive as they grow older,” said VCS executive director Serena Naeve.
“It’s important to have one area for seniors to get services,” said Better at Home co-ordinator Ashlene Chadburn. “We seeing crossover already between TAPS and Better at Home clients.”
Rita Scott, a former VCS board member who served on the adjudication committee for the CBT grant, said that making a case for the project was easy—the other adjudicators “love TAPS.”
“It can be quite a pitch,” she said. “Not so with you guys.”
The seniors, says TAPS co-ordinator Bridget Currie, are thrilled with the new venue. When they first arrived at the location with a level entrance — the 22nd Avenue venue had a ramp covered with indoor-outdoor carpet — some asked, “Is this for us? Do we really deserve this?”
“It’s bright, it’s clean, it’s central in the community and a nice partnership,” said Currie. “They’re just in heaven. … They feel much more a part of life in the community.”