There's help on the horizon for Burnaby seniors living at home, now that the Better at Home program is coming to the city.
Ralph Sultan, minister of state for seniors, announced on Jan. 28 that the Better at Home program will be expanding to several new locations in B.C., including two in Burnaby.
"Our government is committed to supporting seniors so that they can stay at home as long as possible because that is what they want," Sultan said in a press release. "Better at Home is a program funded by this government that helps seniors live at home longer - among friends, family and neighbours - by providing simple services such as grocery shopping, friendly visits or snow removal."
Better At Home, funded by the B.C. Health Ministry and delivered by the United Way, is designed to help low-income seniors get help with non-medical tasks. That could include friendly visits, help with groceries, minor home repairs, transportation, light yard work and house-keeping, depending on the needs of the community. Volunteers typically deliver the services, and seniors pay, based on their income. The fees go back into the program to support others who are using the services. The program is meant to help low-income seniors without taking business away from the private sector.
(Help with bathing and medication is not offered, as those tasks are taken care of by community health workers.)
The program is already in the works in neighbouring New Westminster, where the Seniors Services Society is scheduled to start offering some services in April.
The United Way will issue a request for proposals for Burnaby in mid-February, looking for a community developer whose job is to engage residents in determining what kind of services are needed locally. Each community that hosts the program is involved in a public consultation process to assess what services local seniors need and which non-profit agencies will deliver them. When that's determined, the host agencies will apply to the United Way for funding to deliver the services.
Once the program is fully rolled out, Better at Home services will be available in 56 communities throughout B.C. For a full list of locations, go to www.betterat home.ca.