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Continuing to build Long Term Care facilities for seniors is economically unsustainable, especially when one in four does not need to be there. Those 90 or over are the fastest growing cohort in Ontario. To stay healthy such seniors need to maintain good relationships with friends and relatives, always feel useful and do things for other people. 
 
That's the message Helen Cooper, president and chair of the Oasis Board of Directors, left with The Rotary Club of Kingston's members when she spoke about the current status of the Oasis Program and the valuable contribution it makes to the lives of seniors, in the areas of reducing isolation, and improving physical fitness and nutrition.
 
The purpose of Oasis, is to make it possible through collaboration with public sector, not-for-profit, and private sector organizations, to create a supportive living program for older adults that builds community among members in the setting of an existing private sector apartment building. In Kingston, the private sector partner is Homestead Landholdings Ltd. Specifically, the Bowling Green II building at 237 Bath Road. 
 
Oasis in Kingston is governed by a Board of seven people plus a paid, live-in Program Coordinator. It has formed a partnership with Providence Care and has teamed up with two professors, Catherine Donnelly and Vincent DePaul, at Queen’s University to evaluate its success and recommend how to replicate the Oasis Program across Canada, particularly in Ontario and Vancouver.
 
There is currently a second program in Toronto, started by Christine McMillan, who started the site here in Kingston. Key to this effort is the contribution made by landlords who can provide communal space, at no charge, for the use of the program. There is no cost associated with Oasis for any of the members.
 
Presently, the federal government provides $136,000 annually and the Board is quick to announce the successes of Oasis in reducing the strain on our health system - music to the government’s ears. Helen emphasized her position that Oasis has been created to make decisions with members, not for them. The members are happy people who enjoy the activities, their involvement in the decision-making process and the sense of community Oasis provides.
 
Our forthcoming, 2022-23 president, Alicia Gordon, also serves on the Oasis board. 
 
Published on  in Vol 5, No 2 (2022)
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