A program aimed at providing services to allow seniors to live at home longer is expanding to Chilliwack.
After a successful pilot project, the Better at Home program has expanded to 56 sites around British Columbia.
Chilliwack has been selected for the provincially funded program, which provides nonmedical services to seniors.
The program is managed by United Way and has already been established in five communities around B.C. Project manager Christien Kaaij said the program tries to assist seniors to live independently by providing help with everyday tasks, whether it be house cleaning, shopping or yardwork. Volunteers also provide friendly visits and companionship for isolated and lonely seniors.
The United Way will first seek to hire a community developer this spring. Consultations will begin soon after to determine what services are most needed by Chilliwack seniors, with a start date set for the fall.
"We know that there is a need from our experts, but we haven't spoken to the communities yet," Kaaij said. "The program will look differently based on different needs and assets."
The province has promised to fund the program to a tune of $15 million over three years.
The aim is to make it easier for seniors to live in their own homes for longer. While the program will not offer medical services, Kaaij said that it could still end up boosting the health of seniors.
"Research has shown that with simple services like friendly visits, for example, seniors are less lonely, and when they are less lonely they are actually healthier," she said.
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