2012 Spring Retreat - March 24-25
Park Town Hotel, Saskatoon SK
Lively music, cheerful smiles and bright decorations made a fun tropical weekend for the lei-wearing brain injury survivors who attended the 2012 Spring Retreat.
A welcome luncheon at the start, gave everyone to get acquainted with one another.
In the afternoon, participants had a choice of free time, a swim or creating a Hawaiian themed picture frame to display their Hawaiian themed portrait photo.
The entertainment filled weekend was not just about having fun, as survivors and those who care for them were provided with valuable information. This included tips for living with brain injuries, how to prevent falls, information about RDSP (the Registered Disability Savings Plan) and information about a new program from the Ministry of Social Services called SAID (Saskatchewan Assured Income for Disability).
Jim Browne was the first speaker, explaining the SAID program as a new income support program for people living with significant and enduring disabilities.
Currently ending its first phase of enrolment, SAID hopes to move on to phase two, which includes people who are not living in residential care homes, by June 2012.
The SAID program is working on offering an exceptional needs benefit, which recognizes that people with more serious disabilities require more income for things like transportation.
What distinguishes SAID from the Social Assistance Program (SAP) is that SAID is hoping to provide more income and benefit for those on the program. Aiming to be a more socially accepted program, SAID tries to take away the stigma associated with welfare. This is something that people with disabilities have asked for. A way that SAID is trying to achieve this is by limiting the social intrusion associated with SAP. Periodic case reviews are conducted only once every three years.
Recreational Therapist Janet Barnes and Physical Therapist Jody Marshak teamed up to give a presentation called Staying on your Feet. The presentation educated the audience about being aware, and staying safe and keeping active in order to prevent falls. The audience was very engaged and the presenters were impressed by how interactive the crowd was.
The evening ended with entertainment which included a unique drumming circle by the Saskatoon Chapter's Drumming Group, Hawaiian themed games and a photo booth.
After a delicious breakfast on Sunday morning, Don Gmeinweser gave a presentation called Making sense of systematic barriers. Don, who has family members with disabilities, cites his reason for educating people being that "people retire and exit the system, but a lot of new people don't understand the system."
Don's presentation was mainly about connections and getting help, and being aware of the responsibility the government and different programs have to people living with brain injuries.
Don encourages people living with, or taking care of those with brain injuries to not let the government or hospitals push everything onto the family. Sometimes families aren't told that they are eligible for family care benefits funded by the department of Social Services.
"There's no day-to-day living allowance for victims of crime. Not like car crash victims, who get something from SGI."
Like most situations in life, there are those who unfortunately fall on the fringes of society.
According to the Government of Saskatchewan's Acquired Brain Injury Partnership Project, the most common causes of brain injuries are motor vehicle collisions, strokes, falls, and aneurisms.
Don gave the audience plenty of resources for help including SBIA and SARBI, and answered questions from the audience.
The day ended on a relaxing note as Eveline Lacelle did a chair yoga session with the participants.
Hugs were exchanged and participants chatted about the lovely time they had on the weekend as they left the Parktown Hotel.
Thank-you to all the presenters and volunteers who generously donated their time to make the weekend a success.
Register for this year's Retreat