For senior residents in Golden, working their way through the various services in the community can be a difficult and often confusing task.
That task has been made easier in recent months, as local Mickey Balas has taken up a position as the community’s Seniors’ Navigator, a free service that can help seniors with a variety of issues and concerns.
Balas, who has been in the role since April, believes that a service like this is needed for multiple reasons.
“In my own experience, accessing care at the start was just such a difficult job. You don’t know where to go,” she said.
Seniors are often not aware of what’s needed to work their way through the system. As an example, children can’t simply walk into Durand and ask for a space for their parents, they have to be recommended and meet certain criteria.
“Most seniors…are overwhelmed and exhausted. It’s a difficult journey,” Balas said.
In addition to home care and housing options, Balas can help seniors find hospice services, community programs, events and she can help with home safety. She is also able to provide health-related resources.
So far, she’s helped individuals apply for Canada Pension Plans, reduced Medical Services Plan premiums and with dementia-related issues.
Transportation and housing are two of the biggest challenges for seniors in Golden. Balas was quick to praise the facilities that we do have, but believes that many more spaces are needed.
There are only eight assisted living spaces available in Golden, and that’s not nearly enough according to Balas.
“What we have is good, we just need more,” she said.
Going forward, Balas hopes that Golden can get a seniors coordinator who would help bring more seniors services to town – services that other towns of similar size to Golden already have.
“In the research that I’ve done in other communities, they’re way ahead of us. They’ve got services that I wish we had, like a bus and a coordinated approach to seniors’ recreation and social activities. The Seniors’ Centre does it on a limited basis, but there could be a lot more.”
Balas can be contacted at 250-344-6866 or by e-mail at firstname.lastname@example.org.