Nova Scotia

N.S. small options homes to offer more activities for people with disabilities

Employees of the new small options homes will help residents connect with the activities in their area they may want to try.

Aim of initiative is to help residents feel more connected to their community

A support worker assists a woman using a computer in this stock photo. Employees of the new small options homes in Nova Scotia will help residents connect with the activities in their area they may want to try, such as taking a computer course. (Miriam Doerr and Martin Frommherz/Shutterstock)

Nova Scotians with disabilities who are moving to new small options homes from larger residential care centres will have a wider range of activities to choose from as part of a new pilot project.

The provincial government said the initiative, known as My Days, will start with 40 people — including 22 moving from Harbourside Lodge, an adult residential care centre in Yarmouth, N.S., that is in the process of being phased out.

"Some have expressed interest in wanting to volunteer at the SPCA. We have others that want to be able to go skating or perhaps take a computer course or work somewhere, volunteer — everything from knitting to baking. It's a wide range of options," said Minister of Community Services Karla MacFarlane.

Employees of the small options homes will help residents connect with the activities in their area they may want to try.

There are currently 10 small options homes under construction in the province, including four in Yarmouth, two in Shelburne and one each in Digby, Bridgewater, the Halifax area and the Annapolis Valley. A maximum of four residents will live in each home, where they'll receive care and other necessary support.

Opportunity to pursue 'individual passions'

MacFarlane said taking part in the My Days project is voluntary for the residents.

"It's all about individual passions and wants and how they want to be involved in the community," she said. "We heard loud and clear from participants and families, and we know that we have to expand programs to ensure that they feel more that they're in a community."

The goal is to have the 40 residents moved into their new homes by the end of this year.

"They definitely will be able to participate in this by the end of 2022 and perhaps before, just depending on when they move into their small option home," MacFarlane said.

The province said in a news release that money for the initiative is coming from previously approved funding.

While the program will begin with residents who are moving to community-based settings, the province said it will eventually be expanded to include others who currently take part in day programs.

ABOUT THE AUTHOR

Anjuli Patil

Reporter

Anjuli Patil is a reporter and occasional video journalist with CBC Nova Scotia's digital team.

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