Brome-Missisquoi non-profit completes expansion to meet caregiver support needs

Four members that are involved in and/or have benefitted from the BMCSG's services officially cutting the ribbon to reveal the new spaces.
The BMCSG proudly unveiled the results of its expansion project for the Maison Gilles-Carle to the public this week. Photo by Taylor McClure.
Taylor McClure - CIDI - KnowltonQC | 01-02-2023
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During the pandemic, the Maison Gilles-Carle de Brome-Missisquoi completed a years-long expansion of its space to help meet the region's needs for more caregiver supports. This week, the non-profit presented the results of its expansion.

The Brome-Missisquoi Caregiver Support Group (BMCSG) was created in 1996 after the CLSC La Pommeraie consulted the population that fell within its administrative region. The consultation revealed that there was a need of more support for caregivers in the region. The BMCSG has been offering support services to caregivers throughout the Brome-Missisquoi territory ever since. 

A major undertaking of the non-profit organization is the Maison Gilles-Carle de Brome-Missisquoi, a physical space where the BMCSG could offer critical services, like respite.

The Maison Gilles-Carle de Brome-Missisquoi was constructed in 2012, but it recently underwent an expansion. The expansion project was launched in 2021 after a fundraising campaign that took place between 2014 to 2019. This week, the BMCSG was finally able to show off the results. 

“From the beginning, the BMCSG was to help caregivers; our clientele is caregivers. As a service to the caregivers, we offer respite. So that’s why the Maison Gilles-Carle was built and recently expanded,” noted Christine Tougas, executive director of the BMCSG. “They can go on vacation, they can simply have a rest for a day, go shopping, or do nothing, it’s just time for them.”

Tougas said that the board of directors for the BMCSG worked on the expansion project for a couple years, but it was officially launched in 2021 with construction taking longer than expected. 

“They don’t have enough materials and people to work, it’s longer. We have to wait for something, then wait for something else, but now it’s done and we are really happy,” mentioned Tougas. 

The total cost of construction falls between $650,000 and $700,000. The expansion project was made possible as a result of community support.

“We collected $300,000 from the community and the rest is from Desjardins," said Tougas.

The BMCSG has a day service and an overnight service for the loved ones of the caregivers seeking respite. Prior to the expansion, the BMCSG could welcome eight people per day, four for the day respite and four for the overnight respite. 

“We have two more rooms so we may welcome six people every night instead of four and same thing for just the day service (expansion of common areas). There may be 12 people here every day. Downstairs we have spaces for three people to work to offer counselling and psycho-social help,” highlighted Tougas. 

There are support groups, coffee meetings for the caregivers, and special support groups for those caregivers dealing with the loss of a their loved one or a loved one that is put in a residence.

The assisted person is taken care of by the BMCSG—from helping with food, to showering, to getting dressed—until the caregiver’s period of respite is finished.

“It’s really like a family here, it’s not like a hospital. It’s a house, we know almost everybody, they know us, they come downstairs to see us when we work. I think it’s appreciated by the caregivers and those being being assisted,” said Tougas. 

Now that the expansion project is concluded, Tougas said the BMCSG wants to “stabilize” its finances to ensure the organization has reoccurring funding to support its mission. 

“We also want the services to be better known by the community,” emphasized Tougas. 

For more information on the the BMCSG and Maison Gilles-Carle de Brome-Missisquoi, visit the website.

Listen to the full interview below: