2015 Executives of Royal Canadian Legion Br. #20 Nakusp. From left to right: Ken Williams

Nakusp to host United Way pilot project for seniors

As the population ages, the provincial government is planning to assess the care needs required by seniors living in isolated areas.

Trisha Shanks

Arrow Lakes News

As the population ages, the provincial government is planning to assess the care needs required by seniors living in isolated areas. Partnering with the United Way, the B.C. Ministry of Health has created a new branch of the Better at Home program to determine what, if anything, is different for seniors who live in remote areas as opposed to city dwellers. Currently, the program is offered in larger centres such as the lower mainland, but does not extend to different types of rural areas. Nakusp is among five areas selected to host the pilot project assessing needs for seniors in more remote places. The interior locations are Nakusp and Invemere, while Fraser Lake and Valemount were chosen from the north, and Pender Island off the coast. “Aspects of the selection process included a higher rate of seniors in the area than average, isolation and transportation issues, lack of infrastructure, the capacity to administer and build upon such a program, the readiness and the excitement about the possibility,” explained Camille Hannah, Program Support and Communications with Better at Home. Funded by the provincial government and managed by the United Way, Better at Home provides non-medical support services to seniors in B.C. helping seniors live longer in their own homes while remaining connected to their community. With the creation of the pilot project in 2015, Better at Home seeks to understand how best to deliver services to seniors living in rural and remote communities in B.C. The type of services currently provided by other Better at Home communities consist of light housekeeping, grocery shopping, minor home repairs, transportation, friendly visits, snow shoveling and light yard work. The services are all provided on a volunteer basis. When asked what the definition of light yard work or housekeeping was, Hannah explained, “We allow our programs to determine what is best for the safety of the client and the provider.” They are looking for input. Those who work with seniors, provide seniors’ services, or have a good understanding of the local seniors’ services landscape, are invited to contact Project Coordinator Debbie Sharp on (604) 268-1300 ext. 2303 or debbies@betterathome.ca.

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