Adult day centre eases burden on families caring for seniors

The Jackson Lam Adult Centre, operated by S.U.C.C.E.S.S. offers day programs for seniors who have physical and cognitive challenges.

The Jackson Lam Adult Centre offers day programs for seniors who have physical and cognitive challenges

Seniors participate in low impact exercises, just one of the many activities offered at the Jackson Lam Adult Day Centre. (CBC News)

Katherine Farmer has noticed changes in her father's energy levels and engagement at home since he's been attending The Jackson Lam Adult Day Centre in Richmond.

Bernard Farmer goes to the centre once a week to participate in games and activities with other seniors.

"He really looks forward to coming each week ... and when I come to pick him up, he's a little reluctant to leave and go home because he's having such a good time," said Katherine Farmer.

And that's exactly what the centre, which officially opened its doors on Tuesday, is aiming for.

Designed to help ease the burden on families caring for their aging relatives while enriching their quality of life, it hosts 25 seniors Monday through Friday.

"It is such an important facility and it saves and helps so many families," said Ping Mah whose family donated the money to help open it.

Once a week, Bernard Farmer's daughters bring him to the Adult Lam Day Centre where he gets to spend the day with 24 other seniors. (Caroline Chan/CBC)

Mah's family has a personal connection to the work that adult care centres do. Her mother used similar programs.

"The advantage of this centre is really allowing seniors to be able to stay at home longer, to allow them to be with their family and loved ones and still have the care that they need moving forward," said Donnie Wing, chair of S.U.C.C.E.S.S., the multi-level care society that runs the centre.

Located inside the already existing Austin Harris Residence, the centre is an assisted living facility in Richmond, just off Moncton Road.

With an aging population in Metro Vancouver and the number of seniors expected to grow, increased supports for families are needed.

"We know that our health-care system needs to evolve and needs to change, and we know that community care is a vital piece of that transformation," said Robert Gill of Vancouver Coastal Health.

"We know that people who attend a day program live at home longer. We know they will visit the hospital less frequently. We know they will have an increased quality of life."

The 25 spaces available per day at The Jackson Lam Adult Centre will accommodate between 50 and 75 seniors in the community.

With files from Christine Coulter and Caroline Chan.