L’ARDOISE: A Richmond County woman wants to give caregivers a helping hand with her new business.

Last week, Jamie Morrison launched Out & About Respite, which operates the area’s first adult day program at the Dr. Kingston Memorial Community Health Centre.

“It’s marketed towards seniors and full-time caregivers. There are benefits on both sides,” Morrison told The Reporter.

The drop-off program is available from 9 a.m. to 4 p.m. on Mondays and Wednesdays.

Morrison worked in long-term care at Richmond Villa for 16 years, and has been working in private home care since 2016. She believes having a safe place for seniors during the day can help ease pressure on full-time caregivers.

“In Richmond County, we have the highest number of seniors in all of Canada in our geographical area. Home care is very, very busy and respite care is something they don’t always do if they are overbooked,” said Morrison.

“This way, you can drop off your loved one and then you have more flexible time. You can use your respite time for yourself in your home or out of your home.”

Morrison pointed out that seniors also benefit from getting out of the house and interacting with others. During the day, participants will have the opportunity to prepare and share meals together, play games, and engage in physical activity.

“I’m hoping, as the weather gets nicer, that we will plant a little container garden outside. I’m hoping we’ll spend some time outside just having fun,” said Morrison.

Morrison wants seniors to look forward to taking part in the activities she has planned.

“Isolation is a big thing, so I think the social aspect is really good,” said Morrison. “Some seniors don’t leave their house for maybe months. Some of them don’t want to or there’s just not really a reason to, so I’m hoping maybe this will help people feel a little more empowered and independent.”

The cost for the program is $50 for a full day, or $30 for a half-day.

“I feel it’s fairly cost-effective and reasonable,” Morrison said. “Private care is an average of about $15 per hour, so if you did a six hour day, it would be $90 as opposed to $50 to take them to me.”

On May 1, Morrison hosted an open house for the program that was attended by coordinators from Home Care and Caregivers Nova Scotia. She said the feedback so far has been positive.

“Everybody seems to think it’s a great idea, so I’m just hoping that everybody tries it,” she said.

If successful, Morrison hopes to expand the program to other locations. She said there has been interest from the communities of Arichat and Port Hawkesbury.

“Right now, we’re trying to get the word out. It’s new. We have tons of interest and lots of positive feedback, but because it’s a new idea, I expect it to take a little time to catch on,” said Morrison.

Morrison encourages anyone interested in the program to stop by her program location in L’Ardoise or visit Out & About Respite’s Facebook page.