Cranbrook seniors program one step closer

United Way of Cranbrook and Kimberley begins community engagement process for Better at Home

Cranbrook is making progress on its way to offering simple in-home services for seniors.

The Better at Home program is managed by the United Way of the Lower Mainland and funded by the government of B.C.

Cranbrook was announced last September as one of 18 communities to be identified as a sight for Better at Home.

Since then, United Way has hired a team who have begun the community engagement process.

“Phase one is identifying the resources in Cranbrook, what is needed and how we go about doing it,” explained Donna Brady Fields, executive director of United Way for Cranbrook and Kimberley.

“We need to connect with the community and identify stakeholders and an agency or group that is interested in carrying out the services.”

Once that process has been completed, United Way will select a non-profit operator to offer services to seniors.

The Better at Home program is designed to help seniors age 65 and older live in their own homes longer by providing simple services delivered by local non-profit agencies.

Simple services provided by Better at Home may include friendly visits, yard work, home repair, transportation to appointments, snow shovelling, housekeeping, and grocery shopping.

The services are non-medical in nature and are supplemental to home support services provided through health authorities such as personal hygiene assistance and help with medical needs or mobility.

Services are provided by a mix of volunteers and paid staff. Seniors who receive services will pay a fee based on their income.

Those services are not yet available in Cranbrook, until the community engagement process is complete and an organization has been contracted to provide the services.

As part of Improving Care for B.C. Seniors: An Action Plan, the B.C. government provided the United Way with $15 million to establish and manage Better at Home. The community initiative is a key part of the provincial Seniors Action Plan to respond to the needs of seniors and an aging population in B.C.

Another 38 communities were added to the Better at Home program last month, bringing the total to 56 communities in B.C. where the program will be available.