Wellness Collaborative delivers 2,000th service in Big Canoe

By Shiraz Alikhan and Linda Ricklef

This 50th anniversary year for Big Canoe has been another very eventful year for the Big Canoe Wellness Collaborative as well.

As a nonprofit volunteer organization, which has provided short-term non-emergency and non-medical wellness services to residents of Big Canoe since November 2015, we are proud to announce we delivered our 2,000th service in the third quarter of 2022.

We provide programs to assist eligible neighbors in finding appropriate Wellness Collaborative services or in getting referrals to other services we may not offer.

Each quarter over the last two years, the collaborative delivered 80 of these services – from meals, during short-term difficulties; rides to medical appointments (or to pick up prescriptions, mail, groceries or trash); to visits for clients who need companion services for loved ones; and to give caregivers some respite.

We also offer support services in small group sessions to help residents dealing with grief or offer support to caretakers dealing with loved ones with dementia. These services have received very positive feedback from the participants.

In addition, the collaborative has focused on improving the health and fitness of all residents by:

Teaming with healthcare professionals who present workshops and seminars related to health and fitness
Sponsoring CPR classes with the POAs Department of Public Safety
Donating the NuStep exercise machine for the Wellness Center, medical equipment for our EMTs to better treat patients
Constructing fitness stations at the intersection of the Blue and Red trails in the Wildcat area

Seminars this year included “Navigating COVID in 2022” and “Planning Your Next Steps, When it is Time for a Change,” which discussed senior living options.

Other services included coordinating and hosting vaccine clinics and Big Canoe blood drive several times annually. The clinics offered residents the opportunity to obtain flu, pneumonia and shingles vaccines as well as COVID boosters. Many residents took advantage of these local vaccine clinics and blood drives and appreciated the convenience of these services within our gates.

This year, in support of the Big Canoe 50th Anniversary activities, the collaborative was the title sponsor for the Big Canoe Day of Service on Oct. 1. Big Canoe volunteers—including many collaborative volunteers—worked on improvements to the Pickens and Dawson counties’ DFCS (Department of Family and Child Services) facilities. This included painting, landscaping and the donation of items such as picnic tables and canopies to make the facilities more welcoming environments for DFCS staff and clients.

For more information about Wellness Collaborative services or to volunteer or make a donation, please visit our website.

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