Trudy Parry oversees both the Better at Home and Seniors’ Support programs based out of the Volunteer Campbell River offices and says despite the COVID-19 pandemic, their programs, though slightly changed, are ready for whenever anyone needs them. Photo by Mike Davies/Campbell River Mirror

Trudy Parry oversees both the Better at Home and Seniors’ Support programs based out of the Volunteer Campbell River offices and says despite the COVID-19 pandemic, their programs, though slightly changed, are ready for whenever anyone needs them. Photo by Mike Davies/Campbell River Mirror

Changes to some services, but Better at Home still a lifeline for seniors during COVID

Services like taking seniors shopping, light cleaning around their house or just being a friend

There are few things – if any – that give Trudy Parry more pleasure in life than helping our community’s seniors.

Parry oversees two separate non-profit programs in Campbell River whose goal is to do just that, and there’s no place she’d rather be.

The first is called Senior Support, which is essentially a way of distributing information for seniors in our community who are new to town or new to being a senior and needing services they haven’t had to access before.

The second is Better at Home, which helps seniors stay in their own homes longer by providing non-medical services like taking them shopping, doing a bit of cleaning around their house or just being a friend to play cards or have coffee with.

“It could be someone going into a senior’s home to give their regular caregiver some respite for a couple of hours,” Parry says, “but we also do things like provide transportation to appointments, take seniors grocery shopping when they need it, and perform some light housekeeping chores for them with our team of bonded and licenced volunteers.”

Right now, the driving functions where the seniors are a passenger are being done by a local taxi service, but they hope to get back to using volunteer drivers as soon as possible and they’ve moved from taking seniors to the store to bringing their groceries to them.

“Until we’re all vaccinated, we can’t be having volunteers and the seniors in the same vehicle,” Parry says. “But even when we come out of this, we’ll probably use a mixture of volunteers and the taxi service, because we’ve found that it’s been helpful with some of our more disabled clients.

“And we used to be that a volunteer would pick the senior up, take them shopping, bring them home and help them unpack their groceries,” she continues. “I hope we’re going to be able to introduce that again as we come out of COVID, but at the moment it’s virtual shopping. We have volunteers call the seniors, take their grocery list, put it into the online grocery app, it gets delivered by the store, and we pay for the cost of delivery and packing that the stores charge.”

Obviously, none of this would be possible without Parry’s army of volunteers behind her. Right now she’s got about 35 “on the books,” and another 25 or so who have stepped away for now because of concerns over COVID.

“We’ve had a really broad spectrum of volunteers, too,” Parry says, “right from 19-year-olds to people in their 70s. And I totally understand the concerns right now and want everyone to know, whether they’re a volunteer or a senior that used to make use of the service but maybe doesn’t want to right now, that the program will be here whenever you feel safe that it can happen again for you.”

Anyone interested in being a part of what they’re doing either at Senior Support or Better at Home can contact Parry directly by email at crbah@volunteercr.ca or by phone at Volunteer Campbell River, 250-287-8111.

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