Skip to content

Sikh community raises $20,000 for dementia support

The Skeena Gursikh Society raised the money to help fund important new bathing facilities
The Skeena Gursikh Society presented Dr. R.E.M. Lee Hospital Foundation directors with $20,000 toward new bathing facilities for Terrace seniors. (Submitted photo/Heather Bellamy)

Following a hot lunch-by-donation at the Miri-Piri-Khalsa Darbar (Walsh St. Sikh Temple), on May 21 the Skeena Gursikh Society presented a $20,000 cheque to Dr. R.E.M. Lee Hospital Foundation directors toward a new bathing tub and lift at the Terraceview Lodge dementia unit.

Community guests smiled and laughed as they left the lunch; feeling good not only about having just enjoyed some of the best Punjabi cooking in town, but also being able to give to the great cause of supporting better health services in Terrace.

The ‘copper unit’ at Terraceview is home to 27 seniors who struggle with varying degrees of dementia.

Heather Bellamy, administrative assistant at the hospital foundation, explained that due to the higher needs of this group, personal hygiene can be challenging and a critical component of care is bathing.

What was once a peaceful, relaxing activity may now be fraught with tension and fear. They may be afraid of stepping into a tub due to their inability to judge where the edge is or how deep the tub is, or may just fear the depth of the water.

Donations were raised over a single weekend and on Saturday congregation member Kam Siemens greeted people as they arrived for lunch.

She said visitors first got to understand what they were coming to and why, what the donation was going toward and that donations of any level were appreciated.

“We created the platform but it was because of the community and everyone coming together, that’s what created the success,” Siemens said.

“We’re all going to need and use the facilities at some point in time in our lives. So it’s something that we feel many people would benefit from.”

Funding a new tub is the hospital foundation’s 2022 project, as the current one has exceeded its lifespan. Included in the total cost of $54,000 is a minor renovation to the bathing room to improve the space to make the bath a calming experience.

The lift assists residents of varying mobility to gently enter the water. It’s powered by a rechargeable battery pack, freeing care-givers from entangling plugged in cords. Wrapping arm rests and gripping bars give residents something firm and reassuring to hold on to.

Geoff Appleton, a hospital foundation board member, said the tub is ‘vital’ for the wellbeing of the community as a whole.

“We definitely need it and will hopefully be able to get it fairly soon. We’ve had great support from the Sikh community. They really did a lot of work.”

Siemens said the initiative aligned with some of the fundamentals of Sikhism, like being good to others, sharing and being compassionate.

“There’s only one human race and we can all live in harmony. That’s really the basis of what Sikhism is and I think the world really needs that right now.”


Do you have a comment about this story? email: