On May 8, 2015, the Deaf community, representatives from the Lions Homes for Deaf People (LHDP), staff of the Glebe Centre and invited guests came together to officially open the Deaf unit of the Glebe Centre.
Deaf seniors who need Long Term Care can apply to the Glebe Centre and when admitted they will reside on a specially outfitted floor – the 4th!
The overriding advantage is that Deaf seniors will be served together in one Long Term Care facility, thus decreasing their isolation and loneliness by providing culturally specific LTC for Deaf and Deafblind seniors. A second advantage is that staff will be able to serve the needs of this group more effectively as the numbers of staff acquiring sign language skills and an understanding of the Deaf will create an environment of inclusion for the Deaf residents. When you are the only Deaf person in a facility, the isolation you feel is pervasive. There is little incentive for staff to learn your language.
A culturally appropriate Long Term Care setting is a setting, within the existing LTC system, that understands the needs of Deaf and Deafblind persons would have staff and volunteers trained in sign language, and would provide sign language interpreters and interveners as needed, through the CHS or Sign Language Interpreting Associates Ottawa (SLIAO) and CNIB. Having Deaf friends and other Deaf people living in the same “home” and staff able to use ASL (American Sign Language) would make the “golden” years truly fulfilling.
After speeches by Lawrence Grant, Executive Director of the Glebe Centre, Susan McKinley, Deaf community representative, Lions members, the city Councillor, David Chernushenko and Chantale LeClerc, Executive Director of the LHIN, tours of the home were provided followed by refreshments.
The hope is that Deaf seniors will take up to fifteen of the thirty-two beds on the Fourth Floor, known as Queenswood.