Senior residents of Cortes Island now have access to help with simple non-medical, day-to-day tasks through the Better at Home program.

Cortes recently joined over 80 communities across British Columbia where non-profit organizations in partnership with Healthy Aging by United Way deliver regular assistance to seniors who reside at home through Better at Home, a provincially-funded program. The services are either free or subsidized, as per an income-based sliding scale. In this way, low income seniors receive services for free, while seniors with an income above the BC average are charged the market rate. These fees are then used to provide more services for local seniors.

A chart showing how much support people can expect, depending on their level of income

“Many people on Cortes don’t have a healthy pension plan and don’t necessarily have the funds to hire people,” said Strijbos. Image courtesy of Better at Home Cortes.

“Many people on Cortes don’t have a healthy pension plan and don’t necessarily have the funds to hire people,” said Strijbos. Image courtesy of Better at Home Cortes.

Services can be delivered weekly, bi-weekly or monthly, and according to Better at Home Cortes include:

  • Visits: a weekly visit from a volunteer to your home.
  • Deliveries: our volunteer drivers can deliver groceries and prescription medication to your home.
  • Friendly Voices: regular phone contact to check in on isolated seniors, an easy way to stay connected. Seniors can receive regular check ins online or by phone by a volunteer—to make sure you’re safe or just to chat!
  • Readers: volunteers share time with seniors with a book, magazine, tablet or newspaper. •
  • Light Housekeeping: assistance with light household chores such as vacuuming, dusting, bathrooms and laundry.
  • Yard Work: assistance with your garden, raking leaves, mowing lawns, pruning to maintain safe outdoor spaces.
  • Small Home Repairs: a variety of services for the maintenance and upkeep of the home. We will help where we can or refer to someone with the expertise needed.
  • Transportation: volunteer drivers provide transport to and from appointments.

Ester Strijbos, who is responsible for administration and organization, wrote to CKTZ News, “Engagement and connection are super important, especially for seniors that live alone. By checking in with them regularly about what they need and providing that service, we hope we can make a big difference to a lot of seniors on Cortes.”

An information session will be held tomorrow, Friday Sept. 17 at 2-3 p.m. in the Pioneer Room at Manson’s Hall. Those interested can come and ask questions as well as get application forms.

Photo credits: (top) Better at Home Cortes is already helping seven seniors and assisting six others with their applications. Photo by Georg Arthur Pflueger on Unsplash. (podcast) Mowing the lawn by Scoro via Flickr (CC BY SA, 2.0 License)

This program was funded by a grant from the Community Radio Fund of Canada and the Government of Canada’s Local Journalism Initiative