The province has announced continued funds for an expansion of the United Way’s Better at Home program, which will help provide core funding to the Golden Better at Home program.
According to Lynne Romano, community development coordinator of the Better at Home program in Golden, this brings some fiscal stability to the program, as they had to reinvent themselves every few months in order to constantly apply for and receive new funding every time a new opportunity came along.
“With this funding, we can provide good services to seniors in the community,” said Romano.
Those services include light housekeeping, transportation to appointments, friendly visits, grocery shopping, light yard work, minor home repairs and shovelling come winter.
Romano explains these things may seem simple but they can go a long way to keeping seniors in their homes longer.
“Often when seniors give up their home and move into something smaller, it’s because of the burden of taking care of the yard, or groceries, these things that become too burdensome with their added ailments, so the choice is made for them,” said Romano.
“Keeping them in their homes longer, it helps them feel more confident and living the best life that they can in their own garden, in their own home.”
Romano says keeping seniors in their homes longer can also help alleviate pressure on the healthcare system, citing how years of research shows seniors live longer and thrive when they can stay at home.
The B.C. government, through the ministry of health, provides funding to the United Way of the Lower Mainland to managed the Better at Home program across B.C.
Individual community organizations will also accept donations, raise funds and encourage volunteer participation.
Seniors who receive Better at Home services will pay a few based on their income.
Some services may be free. The fees-for-service are fed back into the local program in order to serve more seniors.
From April 1, 2019, to March 31, 2020, the program delivered 191,147 services to 11,935 seniors and Elders throughout British Columbia. In total, the Better at Home program runs 81 programs serving more than 260 communities through $50 million provided by the province to the United Way of the Lower Mainland.
Romano says that the uptick on the program has been good in the last few weeks as they get the word out they’ve been able to retain their senior navigator position to continue to help seniors navigate the healthcare system and forums, among other duties.