Helping seniors live at home longer

THE BETTER at Home program for seniors is another step closer to being a reality in Terrace and Kitimat.

THE BETTER at Home program for seniors is another step closer to being a reality.

The program, rolled out earlier this year by the provincial government, is aimed at providing services to seniors so they can continue to live in their homes and will be organized and overseen by the United Way of the Lower Mainland.

Kitimat Community Services Society has been chosen to provide the services to seniors in its city, but the agency that will deliver the services in Terrace hasn’t been chosen yet,  said Jody Olsson of the United Way of the Lower Mainland.

While most communities are receiving $100,000, Terrace and Kitimat were split that amount between them, which has been done for smaller communities that are closer together, said Olsson.

Terrace has about 2,000 seniors and Kitimat has about 1,000.

To find out what seniors want and need to be able to stay in their homes, a presentation was held for them at the Happy Gang Centre with many non-profits in Terrace and Kitimat letting them know what they can do.

A survey was conducted in the two communities with 14 focus groups in each community and one-on-one interviews with 62 individuals in Terrace and 54 Kitimatians using the same questionnaire.

In Terrace, the top three services needed for seniors included transport, friendly visiting/housekeeping and home repair.

Fourth and fifth were grocery shopping/snow shovelling and yard work.

In Kitimat, the top three were snow shovelling, transport and friendly visiting/housekeeping. The fourth one for Kitimat was home repair/yard work/ grocery shopping.

But when asked where they would go to get these services, the top answer in both communities was “don’t know.” Service organizations that gave informational presentations included Volunteer Terrace, Terrace and District Community Services Society, Kitimat Community Services Society, Terrace Hospice and Ksan House Society.

Afterward, Olsson said the process to get the program underway in Terrace is ongoing.

Money is expected to start being handed out October 1 and programs will probably start by January 1, 2014, she said.

More information will be given out as it’s sorted out, she added.

Note: this story has been corrected/changed from the original print version.

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