Bridging the Gap connects seniors with volunteers who care

Submitted by Mickey Balas

Loneliness and social isolation are serious facts of life for many members of the senior community.

Golden has approximately 1,000 seniors, many who unfortunately live in loneliness and isolation.

Late in 2017 the seniors’ navigator (Mickey Balas) and community development coordinator (Lynne Romano) recognized that isolation was happening in our community and they decided to do something about it.

Working in partnership with the Golden Community Resources Society, they were successful in obtaining a grant which provided funding through the Columbia Basin Trust to make the Bridging the Gap While Increasing the Senior Centre Capacity Initiative a reality.

The initiative’s goal was to provide a link between socially isolated seniors and the resources needed to eliminate or reduce their isolation.

This project is particularly relevant with Canada’s aging demographic. Our population is steadily growing older – and for the first time ever, Canadian seniors now outnumber children under the age of six years.

Over the year a volunteer group was formed and trained to identify and connect with our isolated community members.

These volunteers are working towards the establishment of a referral service which will be delivered through a coordinated group of community and peer citizens known as “connectors.”

Seniors who would like to be able to connect with someone for companionship, help or social interaction can be paired with a volunteer who will make regular contact with that senior.

If you know of someone (or you yourself) who would like to be matched with another senior, a student, or younger adult please call 250-344-6866.

You will decide how much contact you want with that person – perhaps a daily phone call, a weekly visit, a trip downtown for coffee every other week, taking part in an event at the Seniors’ Centre etc. The choice will be yours.

We will work hard to make a good volunteer match for your needs and wishes.

The service is free and open to all seniors in our community.

Mickey Balas

Seniors navigator

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