Nova Scotia

VON program left homeless after fire in Oxford

The adult day program in Oxford, N.S., has no home for the foreseeable future after a fire tore through a seniors housing complex earlier this month.

This isn't the first bout of bad luck for the organization this fall

The VON's adult day program in Oxford, N.S., needs a new place to meet due to a fire earlier this month. (Submitted by Emily Hemlow)

The adult day program in Oxford, N.S., has no home for the foreseeable future after a fire tore through a seniors housing complex earlier this month.

A fire Oct. 12 in the shared lounge of the Meadow Vista complex on Main Street caused about three dozen tenants to be evacuated, according to the Red Cross.

The Victorian Order of Nurses had been using the space for day programs over the last two years.

"Interruption of programming is really difficult, not just for the client, but, of course, for the caregiver," said Erin Crosby, manager of home and community care with the VON.

"We all know that respite is a vital need for those that are caregiving and our program does offer that."

The VON adult day program in Oxford, N.S. usually sees 10-12 people a day. (Submitted by Emily Hemlow)

Judy Ferdinand's 84-year-old mother uses the program one day a week. Ferdinand said it's one day she doesn't have to worry about her mom.

"It's so nice when you know that she's entertained and with people that care and she's safe," she said.

"A lot of times for caregivers, it's their one day they get to do errands and go to appointments and they don't have to worry about their loved one."

Ferdinand said her mom looks forward to going each week.

"Sometimes it's hard to get people there because they're nervous about going and not knowing anybody, and then they get there and their whole week just revolves around going," she said.

"It's a shame that it's going to be cancelled for the next while."

Not the first bout of bad luck

Crosby said the non-profit's losses from the fire were much greater than first anticipated.

Crosby said they lost a dishwasher, microwave, cooking supplies and a robotic therapy cat that provides companionship.

"Ginger was her name and so that was a big loss for the clients because they were very, very fond of her," she said.

This isn't the first bout of bad luck the VON has had in the Cumberland region this fall.

In September, the group in Amherst, N.S., was temporarily displaced from their space because of bed bugs. They're now back in the building.

"It's been a rough go," Crosby said.

While the VON's insurance will cover some of what they lost in the fire, Crosby said they will also have to raise some funds to replace what they've lost.

But for now, the priority is to find a location to get the clients together.

"It's challenging for us to find space that's accessible, that's affordable," she said. "There's a lot of boxes to tick when we look for a space."

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