Health and wellness is a community issue. No longer is health defined as simply the absence of disease or injury. Likewise, healthcare has evolved in the recognition that many factors affect health. For example, a person with limited reading skills might not be able to understand the labels on a medicine bottle or be able to read recipes for healthy meals. A person without a car might not have access to grocery stores or medical appointments. A person who is isolated lacks the social network that is critical to a healthy lifestyle.
What does rural Albert County need to be healthier? According to the Community Health Needs Assessment (2016), we need to strengthen, expand or improve the following (among other factors):
- Health services in Hillsborough
- Access to mental health services
- Mental coping strategies of youth
- Safe, affordable housing
- Support for young families
- Access to affordable, healthy food
- Programs and services to allow seniors to become more engaged, connected and mobile
- Access to affordable transportation.
Contributions to a healthy community
The following programs help create a healthy, vibrant community. The BACH Foundation supports these programs in addition to providing support for staff training and equipment for the Albert County Health and Wellness Centre.
To learn more about a program, you can find a feature article at www.ConnectingAlbertCounty.org.
Tele-Drive A system for people without cars to get to where they need to go. Volunteers pick people up from their houses, drive them to their destination, and then bring them home again – all for a low fee. Tele-Drive helps people get groceries, go to job interviews, do errands and get the help they need from medical professionals in Albert County and in Moncton. People can also get rides for social activities. In doing so, Tele-Drive helps reduce social isolation of individuals, particularly seniors. www.connectingalbertcounty.org/wellness/tele-drive-to-the-rescue
Spin Bikes A way to help elementary students concentrate in the classroom. The stationary bikes at Riverside Consolidated and Hillsborough Elementary Schools allow students to divert extra energy into exercise rather than fidgeting, and help the children become more mindful of their behaviour. The overall outcome is a better learning environment for all the students in the classroom. www.connectingalbertcounty.org/wellness/bikes-in-the-classrooms
Literacy Express Free preschool program in Hillsborough. The program contributes to literacy and early childhood development. Twice a week, the one-hour program is offered for 3- and 4-year-olds on the second floor of Hillsborough’s Train Museum. www.connectingalbertcounty.org/wellness/what-the-kids-are-saying-about-literacy-express
Connecting Albert County Website and newsletter featuring community news, articles and events. One of Connecting Albert County’s goals is to help create a healthier, more vibrant community. We try to achieve this in many ways. We let people know about local health services and programs that support healthy lifestyles. We share stories of interesting people, places and activities in our area and help instill a sense of pride in rural Albert County. Our calendar enables people to find out about social events. All these elements can help people connect with others, strengthen social bonds and create a healthier community. www.connectingalbertcounty.org
Forest Dale Home Van Vehicle to take nursing home residents and other community members to events, medical appointments and the grocery store. The van at Forest Dale Home was bought by the community – through donations to the Forest Dale Home Foundation and support from the BACH Foundation. The wheelchair-accessible van brings Forest Dale residents to community events, such as the Albert County Exhibition, for excursions to Fundy Park, and to medical appointments. In collaboration with Tele-Drive, the van also takes people throughout the community to get groceries at the Hillsborough Fresh Mart. www.connectingalbertcounty.org/food-farming--fishing/free-rides-to-the-grocery-store
Friends of the Moncton Hospital Access to specialists and high-tech monitoring equipment. By providing funds to this foundation, which helps the Moncton Hospital “deliver exceptional healthcare and promote wellness,” the BACH Foundation helps improve the services provided at the Moncton Hospital – services which are often used by residents of rural Albert County www.connectingalbertcounty.org/wellness/albert-county-health-care-a-team-approach
Sistema Hillsborough Free music program that helps students develop self-confidence while mastering an instrument. BACH helps fund the internationally acclaimed program at Hillsborough Elementary. More than just teaching musical skills, the program helps build self-esteem and teaches students about the values of teamwork, patience and practice. www.connectingalbertcounty.org/culture--heritage/sistema-a-noteworthy-program
Hillsborough Satellite Office Expansion of health care services in Hillsborough. The Albert County Health and Wellness Centre now provides lab services (including blood tests and specimen drop-offs) at 2807 Main St., Hillsborough (Former Hillsborough Baptist Church), Tuesdays & Thursdays 8:30-11:30am. No appointment is necessary but patients must bring their Medicare cards and lab requisition forms. Other services will soon be offered in Hillsborough. www.connectingalbertcounty.org/wellness/albert-county-health-care-services
Community room Venue for community meetings, support groups and videoconferencing with medical professionals. The room at the Albert County Health and Wellness Centre in Riverside-Albert is available for community groups to use for workshops and meetings at no cost. The BACH Foundation has funded videoconferencing equipment, which allows the health centre staff to upgrade their skills by ‘attending’ conferences held far away. Patients use the room for appointments with specialists in other areas (Tele-health). www.connectingalbertcounty.org/wellness/albert-county-community-health-room
Imagination Library Program that provides free books to children. The Dolly Parton Imagination Library helps foster literacy and a lifelong love of learning. Once a month, from birth until five years of age, children receive an age-appropriate book in the mail. www.connectingalbertcounty.org/wellness/the-imagination-library-bringing-books-to-rural-albert-county
Tele-Health A way you can talk with a specialist at a distant hospital while in Riverside-Albert. In the Community Room at the Wellness Centre in Riverside-Albert, patients can see and talk with specialists in other hospitals. This way, people can get the treatment they need without the expense, stress and hassle of driving long distances. www.connectingalbertcounty.org/wellness/video-technology-provides-treatment-without-travel
You can help BACH continue to fund these programs by donating to the Foundation. A pledge form is on page # and at www.bachfoundation.com. Donors will receive a tax-deductible receipt.
By Janet Wallace