Editor’s Note: In celebration of Community Support Month, October 16 to 20 is dedicated to Adult Day Programs. In this story we share how Community Care Durham’s Day Program has benefitted Chitra Pregasem.
Chitra Pregasem is an active, social person. If she’s not busy, she’s not happy.
Despite having Parkinson’s Disease, the 71-year-old Ajax resident says she always tries to find something to do. Sitting is not an option. If she’s alone, she’ll fold or refold her clothes to stay active.
For the past couple of years, Chitra has been looking for more things to do. That’s when her daughter, Sylvia, discovered Community Care Durham’s Adult Day Program a little over a year ago. It was a game changer for them.
“I was at home with nothing to do,” Chitra said. “I was so happy when I found this place (ADP). I’ve got my space, and my daughter has her space.”
Over the years, Parkinson’s has forced Chitra to use a walker, but she still gets around fine. When she has difficulties speaking, she uses a small whiteboard to write messages to people.
“I’m doing my best, but I do need attention,” she admitted.
Chitra said she was anxious on her first day at ADP. But Day Program Coordinator Colleen Paris and the other staff put her at ease.
“I felt I was safe,” she said. “They are all so helpful (staff). It makes me feel comfortable.”
Knowing her mother was in a good place was a relief for her daughter Sylvia.
“She’s (Sylvia) happy because I’m happy,” Chitra said. “She knows I’m happy and that I’m safe here.”
Keeping busy is never an issue at the day program. Programming includes many activities, including games, which are Chitra’s favourite thing to do.
“Everybody who comes here is different; there are different cultures here, and I love talking to different people and learning new things,” Chitra said.
She also enjoys the educational aspect of many of the activities.
“I’ve learned a lot coming here. There’s no age limit to studying music or cultures,” Chitra said.
Poetry is another interest of hers. Colleen has a few of Chitra’s poems displayed for everyone to read.
“I enjoy writing poetry in the morning when it comes to my mind,” she said.
Chitra has a Personal Support Worker who visits her at home when she’s not at the Adult Day Program on Wednesdays. When the PSW arrives, Chitra always has a plan for them.
“If they come to my house, they have to do something with me,” Chitra said with a smile.
“I’m always busy,” she said. “I like to have things to do.”