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    Crib, coffee, and conversation

    Brodie Thomas
    Northern News Services
    Published Thursday, November 6, 2008

    INUVIK - The hospital might not seem like the best place to hang out, but Inuvik elders have been converging at the hospital lately. They aren't coming for appointments and checkups but for crib, coffee and conversation.

    The elder day program has elders from the community spend time with patients in long-term care. Everyone gathers in the multipurpose room and long-term care wing to socialize, enjoy a hot lunch and take part in dozens of activities that are arranged every day.

    NNSL Photo/Graphic

    Colin Amos, left, and Alex Elanik play an afternoon game of crib at Inuvik Regional Hospital. The elder day program invites elders to come to the long-term care facility to meet, mingle and socialize with long-term care patients. - Brodie Thomas/NNSL photo

    "It's to provide elders from the community with recreation and leisure needs," said Gloria Nasogaluak, elder day program recreation programmer.

    She said the hospital wing gives everyone a safe place to relax and talk. Having it at the hospital gives long-term care patients the chance to take part as well.

    On Tuesday, a heated crib tournament took place while other elders chatted over puzzles. On other days they might be engaged in craft or art projects. Occasionally they will do some baking in the kitchen.

    Activities aren't just confined to the hospital. Often they travel by bus to Ingamo Hall, the Quick Stop or the Legion. Nasogaluak said getting people out on the town gives them a change of scenery and something to look forward to.

    "It's good to have this atmosphere of everybody having fun," said Nasogaluak. "Everyone helps and they all have their own input into this."

    William K. Allen is one of 14 "regulars" taking part in the activities almost every day. He has been coming since he moved to Inuvik two years ago.

    "Some days we do games like shuffleboard," said Allen.

    He said that through the program, he has been introduced to new people and has tried other programs. Lately he has been going to the Midnight Sun rec complex gym with a trainer twice a week.

    He has also been going to the pool, although he said he prefers the hot tub.

    "It really does make a difference," said Allen.