Staying at home for as long as possible

Independent Living for Seniors program called Better at Home launched in Parksville

SOS director Renate Sutherland

SOS director Renate Sutherland

The provincial government has selected 11 service providers for their new Better at Home program to assist seniors with non-medical services such as grocery shopping and snow removal and keep them living independently in their own homes.

Minister of State for Seniors Ralph Sultan made the announcement at the Society of Organized Services in Parksville Thursday that the SOS would be the local provider of the program administered by the United Way.

“One of the things I have heard from B.C. seniors as I have travelled throughout the province, is their desire to live at home, among family and friends, for as long as possible,” Sultan said.

Pointing out he is turning 80 in June, he said: “I know that a little help around the house can make life easier, and the Better at Home program reflects our commitment to support seniors’ independence by helping them to live in the community of their choice where they can continue to engage with neighbours and friends.”

United Way’s B.C. chief operating officer Deborah Irvine said she is excited about the new program and thanked the health authorities for looking for innovative ways to help keep seniors in their homes.

“The Better at Home program has been developed with the specific needs of seniors in each community in mind,” said Parksville-Qualicum MLA Ron Cantelon, also at the announcement. “For many seniors, assistance with simple tasks such as getting to appointments or tidying up around the house can provide the support they need to remain independent in their own homes.”

While the program complements existing support services such as assistance with personal hygiene or medical needs, which are provided through regional health authorities, seniors may be asked to pay a small fee for services based on their income.

“Parksville is home to a growing population of seniors, and we are pleased to be part of the Better at Home program,” said Renate Sutherland, SOS executive director.

The program will have $15 million in funding and is called a key component of B.C.’s Seniors Action Plan.

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