Larry Reed

Larry Reed

Program ramps up to help seniors at home in Saanich

Saanich will receive funding for a Better at Home support program, which provides seniors living at home with non-medical services.

With an aging population and some 20,000 seniors already living in Saanich, the United Way and the provincial government are looking at ways to keep elder residents happy in their own homes.

The municipality is one of 68 in the province that will receive funding for a Better at Home support program, which provides seniors living at home with non-medical services.

Lilaine Galway, community development manager for United Way Greater Victoria, says they are looking for input from Saanich seniors on which services – from yard work to transportation – are most in demand.

“The people who are going to be using the service have to decide which way the direction goes. This is a chance for Saanich seniors and their families and caregivers to really have a voice and to identify which services are most important to them,” she said.

The services being considered in Saanich are light housekeeping, grocery shopping, transportation to appointments, simple home repairs, snow shovelling and light yard work.

“This is really stuff that would help a senior remain independent in their homes longer,” Galway said.

The B.C. government provided $20 million to the United Way of the Lower Mainland to establish Better at Homes programs around the province. Esquimalt and Victoria are the other two Greater Victoria communities slated to get a Better at Home program.

The United Way still needs to select a non-profit agency to manage Better at Home in Saanich, which Galway said will emerge out of suggestions and surveys with seniors. That agency will be able to access up to $100,000 for the pilot project, Galway said.

Some simple services will be free, while complicated tasks will have fees based on the recipient’s ability to pay.

A public forum to provide input and to hear from local service agencies will be held at Gordon Head Recreation Centre on June 12. Registration is required for the event, which runs 12:30 to 3 p.m.

People can also participate online at surveymonkey.com/s/SaanichBetteratHome.

For more information or to register, contact Galway at 250-220-7363 or lilaine@uwgv.ca.

kslavin@saanichnews.com