Aimee and her 85-year-old father Pat have been using Vecova’s programming for barely two months and they both say they have seen a profound difference in their lives.
Vecova is a charity that offers programming for differently abled people in Calgary.
“We are happy,” Aimee says. “I ask him in the car after he is finished at Vecova, and he always says, ‘That was a lot of fun.'”
“I wouldn’t miss it for anything,” Pat says.
Aimee has been caring for her dad as he navigates life with dementia. They’re involved in the dementia care program at Vecova.
“This is keeping me healthy and keeping my dad living with me,” Aimee says. “I see him thriving.
“The whole reason I wanted him living with us is quality of life, and this enables him to live with vitality and respect.”
Kyla Martin is Vecova’s chief development officer. She says Vecova is in need of more space and better access.
“There’s over 2,000 Albertans approved for services that are currently on waitlists — the majority are between the ages of 20 and 34,” she says.
Vecova’s current building is over 50 years old and showing its age. What was required in the late 1960s is now outdated and the space needs to evolve.
“People with disabilities need a centre and a centre that is 100 per cent inclusive to everybody and all abilities and shows no bounds,” Martin says.
“We are on the cusp of the Vecova Centre for All Abilities.”
Vecova has approached all three levels of government for possible funding and is looking for community donations to help build a new facility on the existing property.
Vecova says it needs $122 million to make the idea a reality.
“Disability is the only minority group you can enter at any stage in life, whether its through surgery and you need rehabilitation, or as you age,” Martin says.
“Services need to be available for people who need them.”
Jo-anne Willment suffered a stroke in her 30s and credits her recovery in part to Vecova’s aquafit program.
“Sometimes I register two mornings, sometimes it’s been three,” Willment says. “It’s a terrific opportunity for me.
“I suspect if I had not had this, I would be in a wheelchair.”
She is also grateful for the community within the walls of the building.
“I have friends here from a number of years. We have nurses, a biologist, an accountant — and these people are quite exquisite,” Willment says. “There is a whole range of people helped by Vecova.
“We desperately need a new facility. We need to have something for the differently abled.”