The mission of the Aerie Foundation is to initiate and support opportunities for creative and community-driven projects that address social needs, especially those of the youth and elderly.  Its ultimate goal is to facilitate and be a catalyst for change that is sustainable.

One of the key elements of our program is flexibility - we learned that so many seniors want to remain in their own homes and they have very different needs to enable them to do so with dignity, security and comfort.   We see that even in the case of Auntie Em, that has been so widely publicised, where her home life was most unpleasant, she still had and continues to have a strong desire to be in her own home.  The ability to stay in one's own home has wider implications than for the senior who can happily remain in her familiar surroundings.  If seniors receive support and care in their own homes, this can help greatly to reduce the need for more long-term care facilities in Bermuda and support at-home can mitigate the risk of accidents or other difficulties which could lead to hospitalisation


There are many people in Bermuda who care for their older family member in a variety of ways.   These family caregivers often have children and jobs that also require their time and energy - yet so many people in Bermuda make tremendous sacrifices - physical, emotional, financial- to take care of their family members.  These people are the unsung heroes in Bermuda and these are the people who hold it all together and care for their family member at home often with little outside support.   As such, the Aerie Seniors' Program has two strategies to support family caregivers.   First, we have designed our program to be responsive to the needs of family caregivers- we provide care from 8a.m- 9p.m every day, including weekends and holidays so that caregivers can have an evening or weekend off.  We can provide one-off care.  In other developed countries, there are many organisations to support caregivers and their message is almost always - look after yourself so you can look after your loved one.  In essence, by providing respite care, Aerie is trying to support them in their long-term role as family caregiver.   If family caregivers ask for and receive help with their care giving work, the impact can have positive short-term and long-term impacts.  


Another key element of our program in the coming months is to further develop our delivery model to meet the needs of low-income seniors.  A priority for Aerie Seniors' Program is to reach underserved communities- and we are in the process of developing a sliding scale for fees in order to do so. Our long-term plan includes, starting a day activity center for seniors in 2009 where they'll enjoy innovative programming in a multi-generational facility.  The day center will have facilities for youth and seniors were there is space for interaction between these groups. 


We all know that Bermuda's senior population is growing quickly and that more services and infrastructure will be needed to meet their needs.  We've all read about Auntie Em and we know we want to do more for seniors.   So let's do it!  The Aerie Seniors' Program does not propose to have the magic formula to address all the needs of a growing, ageing population - rather we see ourselves an example of the kind outside-of-the box innovation that needs to come from all sectors in order to meet the diverse needs of  the seniors of Bermuda.