Shirley Klatik, better known as “Shirl”, was new to Chilliwack and looking for a way to become familiar with the area and make new friends.
Shirl was depressed and missed being around people, so she visited her family doctor in Chilliwack to find out what she could do about it. The doctor suggested that she contact Chilliwack Community services for volunteer opportunities. She called and explained that she was a senior who lives alone, and was looking for opportunities to connect to and help her community. She was connected with Chilliwack Better at Home’s program coordinator, Sarah Doyle.
Sarah first visited Shirl at her home to help her understand Better at Home’s Friendly Visitor program and what it could do to help Shirl find comfort in her new surroundings. Through their lively conversation, Sarah signed Shirl up to get a friendly visitor on a weekly basis, knowing that this would be the companionship she so needed. Happily, this was at no cost to Shirl.
Sarah matched well-trained Better at Home volunteer Alison Nixon and was confident that Alison was the best match for Shirl. “I get the most joy when I make a connection to match a volunteer with a senior who’s looking for friendship and to break the isolation”, quoted Sarah.
For Shirl, having a new friend in her new community is indispensable. For Nixon, visiting with people, particularly older adults, comes easily to her, “I enjoy people and I have experience working with the elderly, so I’m very comfortable with them. Plus, it feels good!”
Since uniting with Better at Home, Shirl has become involved with other programs at Chilliwack Community Services, and has attended volunteer training workshops. Shirl is now paying it forward requesting to become a volunteer with Chilliwack Community Services so that she can become a friendly visitor to other seniors in the Better at Home Program!
Better at Home proudly announces 7 new programs to the team. The addition of these seven programs brings us to a total of 60 Better at Home programs across British Columbia.
Better at Home proudly announces the next set of programs to the team: Vancouver’s Inner City serving the Downtown Eastside, Strathcona and Chinatown; Creston Valley and the Central Okanagan in BC’s Interior; Prince Rupert and Fort St. John in the North; and Victoria’s Saanich and West Shore communities. The addition of these seven new programs brings us to a total of 60 Better at Home programs across British Columbia.
The programs are in varying stages of implementation. As of April, 2014, 33 programs are delivering services providing life-changing support to help keep seniors at home and connected to their communities. Some programs have successfully re-applied for second-year funding! All 60 programs have completed their community engagement process.
None of this work could be possible without the financial commitment made by the Government of BC. Home assistance for seniors forms a key part of the complex landscape that supports the active independence of older adults. United Way of the Lower Mainland is proud to manage Better at Home and looks forward to working together to provide support to seniors and to pioneer new programs and services.