Life is about to get a little bit easier for the growing numbers of seniors in Marpole.
The United Way charity is bringing its Better at Home program to Marpole, Kerrisdale, and Oakridge by spring next year. It will provide everyday help with things like house chores and grocery shopping for the elderly.
Better at Home, already available in 68 communities in B.C., is awaiting approval for $100,000 in provincial funding by January 2014, according to Christien Kaaij, provincial project manager for the program.
Currently, there are 3,100 people over the age of 65 in Marpole, which is 13 per cent of its total population. The majority are women. Of that total, 1,000 people are over 80.
“One of the fastest-growing populations in Marpole is seniors”, said Rev. Christine Wilson of St. Faith Anglican Church, who helps the elderly through her church and the Marpole Place Neighbourhood House.
Almost half of United Way’s overall clients are 80 years of age or older. More than half of these live alone.
Seniors need support with things that younger people take for granted like help with getting around, especially for those with wheelchairs, or grocery shopping.
Some need assistance inside their homes with simple house chores like washing curtains, changing light bulbs and fixing a door step. Others will ask for someone to just spend time with them.
Even getting clean can pose a challenge. “I don’t want to have a bath without someone in the house in case I can’t get out of the tub,” said Barbara Dawson, 84.
Another senior citizen, Sylvia Larson, 66, expressed concern about resources that are only available online since many elderly people do not have Internet access.
The Jewish Family Services Agency will be in charge of providing the Better at Home services to seniors in 2014.
“I like [Better at Home] because seniors get to select from a basket of services that help them remain at home longer,” said Joanne Haramia, director of seniors’ services at the agency. “I really support the idea of diverse services.”
The agency will be supported by the Marpole Place Neighbourhood House, which will also offer housekeeping services.
The program comes after five months of consultation with 155 seniors, their families and service providers to figure out what their needs are.
During these talks, seniors put housekeeping as their top priority.
Cost of services
Even though some of these services will come at a cost, seniors in Marpole are happy to pay.
“It’s harder to get the person to get the job done than to get the $25 you need to do it,” said Walter Herring, 74.
Some services will be subsidized based on how much one makes:
- Single income under $15,500 is 100 per cent subsidized
- Household under $24,900 is 100 per cent subsidized
- Single between $15,500-$23,100 is 70 per cent subsidized
- Household between $24,900-$35,000 is 70 per cent subsidized
The Jewish Family Services Agency is going to try to cushion the cost of services by asking for donations from the community.
Seniors will also be able to use the Better at Home services through the seniors centre at the Kerrisdale Community Centre and the Pacific Spirit Community Health Centre.