Things are better at home

New seniors program going phenomenally well, co-ordinator says

The Better at Home program in Cranbrook has been operating since September. There are already 25 applicants taking advantage of the program that helps the elderly with things like housekeeping to allow them to live at home longer.

Laurie Harris, co-ordinator for Cranbrook’s program, said things are going phenomenally well.

“Demand for the program has been significant,” Harris said. “The response to the program from the general public and stakeholders like health care providers has been really super.”

She said they have 25 files in progress and some of those applicants have begun receiving care.

Commitment to Care Resources has been contracted to provide housekeeping services and clients are individually subsidized by Better at Home according to a sliding scale of income. Depending on income, clients may be eligible for up to 100 per cent of the costs associated with the program.

Better at Home provides non-medical support for seniors in need. According to the 2011 census, Cranbrook has 3,000 seniors, some of whom need non-medical help.

The in-home support allows those seniors the ability to stay at home for longer, as well as staying connected to the community longer and enjoy living at home.

Better at Home is funded by the province, and the United Way of the Lower Mainland is managing the project province-wide. The program is rolling out in 68 communities across B.C.

“It not only benefits Cranbrook seniors, but a lot of others across the province who have friends and family in Cranbrook,” she said. “We really encourage readers if they have friends or family in need in other communities, that they check out the Better at Home website.”

There are many programs in service and in development.

Creston is the other Kootenay community with a program in development.

Harris said the two greatest needs they have discovered are light housekeeping and home repairs — the former has been the number one request from clients.

Other needs they’ve identified are transportation to appointments and other engagements, and assistance with grocery shopping.

She said in terms of the transportation, some addition to current services for the elderly is likely needed.

“I’m looking for creative solutions and community partners around that,” she said. “If there are any groups interested in exploring the possibilities of how they can help I am absolutely anxious to speak with them.”

That help could come in development of programs or research into funding possibilities. She said there are some real leadership roles for people who want them, as well as for groups.

One example is a group at Better at Home that volunteers to do odd jobs, such as changing a lightbulb, flipping a mattress – small things that present a real issue for those with mobility issues.

The Better at Home program is delivered locally by Community Connections Society of Southeast B.C. The organization runs the Women’s Resource Centre, the Kootenay Child Development Centre and the Family Connections building.

“We really have people covered from one side of the age spectrum to the other,” she said.

The program works in conjunction with Interior Health’s Home Health home care services. Better at Home services the non-medical side of things.

You can contact Harris at Better at Home through various channels. Through Facebook; by phone 250-426-2943; email; or through the website at