Better at Home thriving

Seniors Assistance

Christine Wood / Staff Writer
May 22, 2014 01:36 PM

Volunteer with Better at Home Lee Campbell takes client Maria Noack to the grocery store to get a few things.

Just shy of a year since its launch on the Coast, Better at Home is thriving, offering services for seniors from Langdale to Egmont who desire to stay at home.

Local coordinator Darlene Hood was hired last June to start up the program, which links seniors with services that help them live independently.

She said things have been “going great.”

“I think I’m most proud of the stats. We’ve got 40 volunteers Coast-wide and we have 90 clients. Services started rolling out in September so our stats go from September until March 31,” Hood said. “Our largest requests are for friendly visiting and transportation.”

Transportation is the number one call Pender Harbour area coordinator Kym Harris receives.

“We have no local bus system in my area, so when a senior loses their driver’s licence, it’s a big deal,” Harris said.

She coordinates the Better at Home services from Secret Cove to Earls Cove, while Hood now coordinates services between Langdale and Halfmoon Bay. The geographical layout of the Sunshine Coast and the popularity of the program have necessitated two coordinators.

Currently the Sunshine Coast Better at Home program offers transportation, friendly visits, grocery shopping, light yard work, home repairs and housekeeping.

Seniors pay a fee based on a sliding scale through Better at Home, which coordinates the services and pays the contractors for their work and volunteers for their mileage.

“The price paid depends on the client’s gross annual income. We subsidize people anywhere from zero to 100 per cent,” Hood said, noting the typical subsidy on the Coast is between 30 and 70 per cent.

Harris stressed that no money is ever paid by a senior directly to someone offering a service.

“Just to protect the senior, Better at Home takes care of all of that,” she said.

Between September and March, Hood said the Better at Home program has provided 217 friendly visits to seniors, 121 rides, 24 home repairs, 69 grocery shops, 112 home cleanings, and nine times helped seniors with yard work.

The program couldn’t run without volunteers, and Better at Home is looking for more locals to get involved.

Volunteers are thoroughly trained for their roles, and right now there is a particular need for volunteer drivers in the Pender Harbour area.

There are two information sessions coming up in June for potential volunteers who want to learn more.

Better at Home will present at the Celebration of Seniors event at the Madeira Park community hall on Tuesday, June 3, at 10:30 a.m., and there will be a second information session on Sunday, June 29, from 1 to 2:30 p.m. at the Egmont community hall.

“The success of this program really hinges on volunteers, so if someone’s thinking about giving back to their community or becoming more involved in their community, I think it’s a great way to do that,” Harris said. “It’s a very rewarding and meaningful program.”

Find out more by calling Hood at 604-885-2644 or Harris at 604-989-6171 or on the web at Click on “community connections” and then “Better at Home.” 

© Coast Reporter


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