Volunteer peer support, assistance with household tasks after surgery, and simple companionship are among the services offered by Victoria-based Seniors Serving Seniors. Photo contributed

Lending vulnerable seniors a helping hand in Greater Victoria

Long-established organization connected to numerous services and support agencies

For over 37 years, Seniors Serving Seniors has been providing valuable services for vulnerable elders in Greater Victoria, but not everyone is familiar with their offerings.

Those in the local health care industry are, however, and work quite closely with this mostly volunteer-based organization through its Return to Health program.

The service sees volunteers assigned to patients who have had medical procedures done in hospital and have been identified by medical staff as “vulnerable.”

For a period of one to three months after the individual returns home – the time varies depending on the individual’s needs and vulnerability – a volunteer senior is matched up with them to help with a variety of tasks. Those range from basic companionship, going for walks and ensuring there are groceries in the house, to getting them set up for the Sendial or HandiDart programs, going through mail that has accumulated, and other non-medical functions.

“The goal is to support these people back to independence,” says Julie Gray, Seniors Serving Seniors’ executive director. “It’s an important goal to ensure they don’t relapse and end up back in hospital. The hope is that they get [familiar with] a community centre … and hopefully regain some of their self worth and their dignity through the connections that our volunteers help them make.”

The organization is currently recruiting volunteer seniors to do this work, starting in the fall.

“Our volunteers report tremendous satisfaction in knowing they’re assisted someone who was vulnerable, that they learned new skills on a number of topics, or that they developed more confidence,” Gray says.

Other functions it serves direct the region’s seniors to local programs and activities.

Its Senior Link phone line sees volunteers direct seniors, their family members or concerned friends to the appropriate community agencies and businesses that answer questions or provide services. Seniors Serving Seniors volunteers field roughly 1,700 calls a year on the line.

“It could be serious stuff, like, my neighbour is being neglected and I’m wondering who to call about this,” Gray says. “We’re a resource of information; not that we resolve the issue, but we direct people to the right place. We assist seniors and their families to find the information and support they need.”

Seniors Serving Seniors also generates a comprehensive directory featuring a diverse list of more than 500 community resources available to people. They range from health-related services to activity and recreation centres and day programs offered around Greater Victoria, complete with phone numbers and website addresses.

A total of 25,000 hard copies of the directory are produced every two years and they are available for pickup at 20 different sites around the region (call 250-382-4331 for locations), as well as online at seniorsservingseniors.bc.ca/service-directory/.

For more information about volunteering for Return to Health or the availability of services, call the office at 250-382-4331, or visit them online at seniorsservingseniors.bc.ca.

editor@vicnews.com

Seniors

Get local stories you won't find anywhere else right to your inbox.
Sign up here

Just Posted

Michelle Obama: In Conversation in Victoria, March 31

Former First Lady hosted by Victoria Chamber for moderated event at Save-On-Foods Memorial Centre

Two scout leaders still missing near Sooke after swollen creek traps troop

Third leader and scouts located, while search continues for two leaders who’d gone for help

West Shore centre hosts queer youth safe sex event

AVI Health and Community Services Feb. 26 event to promote safe sex

Councillor calls for review of off-leash dogs on Saanich beaches

‘This isn’t about loving or hating dogs, it’s about finding the right balance’ councillor says

Victoria veteran receives the National Order of the Legion of Honour

Lorne Frame was pilot for the Royal Canadian Air Force during the Second World War

VIDEO: 2020 BC Winter Games wrap up in Fort St. John as torch passes to Maple Ridge

More than 1,000 athletes competed in the 2020 BC Winter Games

B.C.’s seventh coronavirus patient at home in Fraser Health region

Canada in ‘containment’ as COVID-19 spreads in other countries

Harvey Weinstein found guilty of sex crimes in landmark #MeToo trial

The cases against the Hollywood mogul started the #MeToo movement

CRA puts focus on paper returns as tax-filing season opens

The federal tax collector expects to handle about two million paper returns this calendar year out of roughly 26 million filings

Teck withdraws application for Frontier mine, citing discourse over climate change

The Vancouver-based company said it will take a $1.13-billion writedown on the Frontier project in Alberta

B.C. VIEWS: Pipeline dispute highlights need for clarity

As the B.C. treaty process grinds on, uncertainty remains

COLUMN: Drivers are just getting worse

The advent of self driving cars can’t come fast enough

Massive early-morning blaze destroys Vancouver Island home

Firefighters from three departments called in to battle fire at unoccupied residence

Most Read