New pilot project aims to help keep seniors in their homes

Courtesy of Better at Home, the project aims to help seniors stay independent.

As seniors get older, many still want to keep their independence. For many, part of that independence is the ability to continue living in their own home.

Unfortunately, living at home can be difficult for some. Doing things like going down to the store for groceries, or to the hospital for medical appointments might not be possible if they don’t have a car. Even doing certain things around the home, such as housework may be a little difficult.

This is where Better at Home comes in. The organization aims to help seniors stay in their homes for as long as possible by offering services that help seniors with day to day tasks.

The program is funded by the British Columbia government, and managed by the United Way of the lower mainland.

Nakusp had approached Better at Home about a year ago, but didn’t qualify at the time. A few months later, the village was contacted and was asked if it would be interested in being part of a pilot project.

Nakusp is one of six rural and remote communities picked for the pilot program for Better at Home. Services for each community will vary.

“At this time, we offer light housekeeping, we have a contractor who will be doing light home repairs, maintenance and various jobs,” said Rosalyn Lindgren, project coordinator for Better at Home in Nakusp. “We have volunteer snow removal, and we’re still working on getting volunteers to take people to medical appointments in town, or for grocery shopping and things like that.”

Many people, including the mayor, are very happy this program has come to Nakusp.

“It’s really, really hard to keep people at home, and the last thing we want is for people to end up in residential care if they don’t have to,” said mayor Karen Hamling. “It’s really wonderful that we’re able to take advantage of this program.”

Response from the community has been very positive.

“People are tuned in in this community,” said Tim Payne, the Educational Director at Arrow and Slocan Lakes Community Services. “You don’t pull the wool over someone’s eyes in this community, because they ask questions. People are interested.”

He said he appreciates the input from community members.

“There’s so much good energy in this community of people working together, people coming together for good causes.”

Seniors in the village in particular are very happy the program has come to Nakusp.

“I don’t have words to describe how happy I am. It’s pretty wonderful to think that we have these facilities if we need them,” said Donna Parsons.

Parsons recently celebrated her 80th birthday, and is still living in her own home.

“I’m independent at the moment, but I don’t know if I’m going to be independent forever, and I could sure use services to help. I know so many people that it would help. It’s wonderful.”