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Better at Home aims to provide support services for seniors
Need help with light housework or lawn maintenance, grocery shopping or even transportation? Some new services for seniors could soon be available this spring to help them live independently for longer.
The Tri-Cities has been chosen as one of 60 communities for the Better at Home program, and a meeting will be held next Tuesday, Feb. 12 to find out what services are needed here and who should provide them.
Better at Home is funded through the United Way with $15 million from the province. It will provide a range of fee-based and possibly free services depending on the community need. "It's really focused on non-medical home support services, [such as] friendly visiting, yard work, light house maintenance, transportation, grocery shopping and light house keeping," explained Christien Kaaij, provincial project manager for Better at Home.
She said the services will be affordable — determined by a sliding scale based on income — and it will be up to each community to decide which services are needed to avoid duplication.
For example, Community Volunteer Services for Services, already provides a shop by phone grocery program, a visiting program and telephone reassurance to isolated, homebound seniors in the Tri-Cities. But Kaaij said there is no intention to replace or compete with services that are already being offered, rather the goal of Better at Home is to find out what seniors needs are in the community and find a way to meet them.
Four pilot programs running elsewhere in B.C. have proven that grass-roots programs work and seniors can stay in their own homes longer if they can get help to cope with challenges, such as minor house repairs and getting to appointments, Kaaij noted.
To get things up and running in the Tri-Cities a meeting has been organized for Tuesday, Feb. 12 from 10 a.m. to 4 p.m. at Glen Pine Pavilion in Coquitlam.
Linda Western, a community development consultant for Better at Home, said the meeting will give seniors, agencies and other stakeholders an opportunity to learn more about Better at Home, talk about the basket of services that are needed here and decide who should deliver them.
"A non-profit organization will be operating this in the Tri-Cities and it's for the whole Tri-Cities," Western confirmed.
The chosen agency would need about three months to get up and running, with the capacity to handle referrals, meet with seniors to determine their needs, and match them with services.
She's hoping to see seniors, agencies and other stakeholders come to the meeting to work out some of the details. But registration is required tanned there will be lunch and refreshments.
To register, call Glen Pine Pavilion at 604-927-6940 or any City of Coquitlam facility and quote barcode #424991. For more information about Better at Home, visit www.betterathome.ca