Creston Valley seniors will have more support in their efforts to remain living independently beginning in 2014, Creston town council learned at Tuesday’s regular meeting.
Creston resident Myrna Johnson appeared at Tuesday’s meeting to report that she is the community developer for the Better at Home program, which is funded by the provincial government and managed by the United Way.
“I will be doing the surveys, awareness and presentations through the months of October to December,” Johnson said.
Johnson said a public meeting is scheduled for 6:30 p.m. Dec 2 in the Erickson Room at the Creston and District Community Complex. That meeting will be followed by another on Dec. 3, in which invited stakeholders will be invited to contribute their knowledge to assess local needs.
“The (yetto be hired) program co-ordinator will also act as an ombudsman for seniors,” Johnson said in response to a query from Coun. Judy Gadicke.
Better at Home is intended to supplement existing services, helping seniors with simple, non-medical tasks to enable them to continue living independently and remain connected to their communities.
“Better at Home does not provide seniors with personal hygiene assistance, such as bathing an grooming, or help with medical needs or physical mobility,” Johnson said in her report. “It is important to reinforce that Better at Home offers non-medical support.
“It is not a substitute for — nor does it replace — critically-needed home support services provided by community health workers in the health authorities. …
“I will be setting up at various businesses and venues in the next few months — farmers’ market, town hall, the Health and Wellness [Fair], Shoppers Drug Mart, Home Hardware, the Bargain [Shop] and library,” she said. “If you would like to have an awareness presentation for your business, group or organization, please call me.”
Better at Home delivers services through local non-profit organizations using a mix of paid workers and volunteers. The programs are guided by local advisory committees and each community has a paid co-ordinator. A pilot project in five communities launched in 2009 proved to be a success, and Better at Home will now be established in as many as 68 communities around the province.
“Services vary from community to community and are based on the assets and unique needs of local seniors identified during the community engagement process,” Johnson said. “Services are chosen from the following basket: friendly visiting, transportation to appointments, light yardwork, snow shoveling, minor home repairs, grocery shopping and light housekeeping.”
Some services may be offered for free but the majority are provided by fee-for-service, based on the clients’ self-declared household income and a sliding scale.
All seniors who live in their own home are eligible to access Better at Home services. Because service providers, including contractors, are closely checked and monitored by the program, seniors will have added protection, she said.
A survey, which local residents are encouraged to fill out, will be posted on the Town of Creston website, www.creston.ca.