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Better at Home gives seniors an extra hand

Aging and living in your own home has its challenges, but a helping hand and a kind ear can make a world of difference.

Next Wednesday, a new provincial program begins in Campbell River that will provide some basic assistance to seniors living independently.

“We are not a solution. We are just making things a little better,” says program co-ordinator Brenda Wagman.

Better at Home is a provincially-funded program run through the Campbell River Family Services Society in partnership with Volunteer Campbell River.

The program is available in 60 other B.C. communities, but the selection of services varies from place to place.

Wagman says Better at Home offers seven services, but to start, just two services will be available locally: Companionship and transportation assistance.

“You might want someone to talk to or play a game of cards with or go for a walk,” says Wagman. “We also offer transportation in the city for medical appointments or social outings.”

Companionship is free of charge and transportation is available on a reasonable sliding pay scale, or free itself to people on very low incomes.

Other services not yet available through Better at Home include light housekeeping and yard work, minor home repairs, grocery shopping, and snow shovelling.

However, that’s not to say some of those services aren’t already available locally.

Wagman says partnerships are being created with other service providers such as the John Howard Society which has its own yard work assistance program.

However, the top need identified in Campbell River is transportation assistance.

“There’s definitely a need in the community,” says Wagman. “For seniors who are no longer able to drive, this creates a tremendous loss of independence.”

For companionship, the goal is to match volunteers with similar interests with clients.

And all the volunteers are properly vetted and checked out by Volunteer Campbell River which, notes Wagman, should make the senior clients feel secure.

“We have wonderful volunteers who really want to help seniors in our community. Some are seniors themselves,” says Wagman.

For more information about Better at Home, call Wagman at 250-287-2421 or e-mail brenda.wagman@crfs.ca

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