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EDITORIAL: Program helps supply a crucial need

This is as good as anything the doctor could have ordered. Several local organizations have arranged for people who have loved ones in palliative care to get more of the recreation they need and deserve.

The Aberdeen Palliative Care Society, the YMCA of Pictou County and the Pictou County Wellness Centre have joined forces to offer those people free access to the Wellness Centre and the YMCA, which is housed there.

Its like many critical family dilemmas, no one knows just how stressful and trying it can be until they have someone going through a serious health crisis and need to be there for the person. The aim of this new program is to see that people in such a situation get the respite they need.

In addition to what recreational opportunities the YMCA has to offer, those who decide to participate will also have access to the skating rink and walking track at the Wellness Centre. Passes will be available through palliative care doctors and nurses at the Aberdeen Hospital. Families of those with someone in palliative care will be entitled to seven-day passes, which can be renewed as needed.

That pause to refresh is essential to anyone undergoing the day-to-day load of being there for that family member, a break that otherwise might mean staying long hours non-stop inside the hospital or round the clock in the house if the loved one is in the at-home program.

Ian Bos, a board member of the Aberdeen Palliative Care Society, described the program as a perfect fit involving the support the society aims to provide people and the community outreach of the Wellness Centre and YMCA.

This fits well with the inevitable trend were seeing more of in recent years of making it more feasible for people to take on part of the responsibility of caring for family members in certain critical situations. We can appreciate how much the person in need appreciates the presence of family.

Compassionate care benefits, for example, make Employment Insurance benefits available to people who have to leave work temporarily to care for a family member who is gravely ill and at risk of death. The idea is that people should not have to choose between a job and being able to improve the quality of life for that loved one – who may not have much time left.

These and other such programs – made possible by communities, organizations or levels of government – are evermore essential in what we often refer to as our rapidly aging population. Its the appropriate compassionate approach families need when going through trying circumstances.

And to those facing any such challenge of helping an ailing family member, having ample rest and some time for recreation is part of what they need to maintain focus and see them through.

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