$4 million to better serve seniors

On Friday, June 12 in Kamloops, B.C.’s Health Minister Terry Lake (see photo) announced an additional $4 million in funding for United Way’s Better at Home Program. The funding will be used to enhance and support Better at Home.

Managed by United Way of the Lower Mainland, Better at Home is operating in 61 locations across B.C. with another six programs starting services in the coming months as part of the Rural and Remote Pilot Project.

“United Way’s vision is a healthy, caring, inclusive community. Better at Home, and today’s funding announcement, goes a long way to supporting that vision,” said United Way of the Lower Mainland President & CEO Michael McKnight.

The announcement was made at a seniors symposium organized by ONCORE, Better at Home”s service provider in Kamloops.

View the official media release for more information on the additional $4 million from the province of B.C.

Photo credit: Laima Brown

From Arrow Lakes to Vanderhoof: six rural communities receive funding for pilot program

United Way’s Better at Home program initially explored five locations for the Rural and Remote Pilot Project. Six communities have since received funding and are setting up their pilot programs.

Seniors who live in B.C.’s rural and remote communities have different needs than seniors living in cities. That’s why United Way’s Better at Home designed a Rural and Remote Pilot Project. Stakeholder engagement processes were conducted in early 2015 in Nakusp, Invermere, the Villages of Fraser Lake and Valemount, and Pender Island.  The communities were selected based on a number of factors including a high percentage of seniors living in the area and community capacity to manage a program.  During the community engagement phase, another rural and remote pilot community with a high percentage of seniors was explored: the Village of Granisle, a remote community of about 300 people in Northern B.C. 

Five of the six rural and remote pilot programs have developed regional models for services:

  • Arrow Lakes Better at Home (serving Nakusp, Burton, Fauquier, and Edgewood
  • Columbia Valley Better at Home (serving Invermere, Spillimacheen, Edgewater, Radium, Windemere, Panorama,  and Canal Flats)
  • North Central BC (serving Fraser Lake, Fort St. James, and Vanderhoof)
  • Robson Valley (serving Valemount, McBride, Dunster, and Tête Jaune Cache)
  • Southern Gulf Islands (serving Pender Islands, Mayne Island, Galiano Island, and Saturna Island)

The Village of Granisle plans to create a localised, single-community program.

The stakeholder engagement reports are available online at the Better at Home website. In the coming months, the pilot programs will be supported to set up their local models and start providing Better at Home services to support rural and remote seniors remain independent at home.

Do you have waitlists? You might be eligible for more funding

Almost half of Better at Home programs are now eligible to receive more funding based on community characteristics and need.

As Better at Home is evolving, we’ve developed a new funding model. Under the previous framework, Better at Home programs received up to $100,000 per year, with a few exceptions. The new model, however, allocates funding based on community characteristics and need, and number of seniors served.

As a result, almost half of Better at Home programs are now eligible to receive more funding.  The remaining programs will maintain their original funding level, usually $100,000.

This new funding model has been developed to ease waitlists that are starting to emerge at some of the more successful programs. As Better at Home has developed and expanded, so have demands for subsidised services. Waitlists may develop for a variety of reasons, including the need to match clients with service providers who have particular language skills.  Better at Home programs are starting to track and report on waitlist numbers and reasons, which should help better allocate funding to areas with the greatest need.

Improving resource allocation to areas with high service demands is one way Better at Home is responding to program demands around the province, helping local organizations to better support seniors to remain independent at home.

In the News: Helping to close the gap

Better at Home strives to provide seniors a hand with simple day-to-day tasks in the non-medical spectrum to help close the gap on home care support for seniors.

There has been some news coverage recently about the important issue of cutbacks to home care supports for seniors. Cutbacks in hours and the changes in the range of duties for home support workers were discussed in a Vancouver Sun article this May.

According to the June 3rd Living Up to the Promise report released by the BC Health Coalition, basic home support services such as assistance with meal preparation, bathing, and medication management are more difficult to access for older adults, particularly those with more moderate needs

While Better at Home is not a replacement for these cut backs to home care and support services, the provincial program is an important part of the spectrum of seniors services. Many of the services covered in these reports relate to personal care or are medical in nature, thereby falling outside of the mandate of Better at Home.  However, as a key part of the fabric of services woven together to support seniors? independence, Better at Home strives to provide seniors a hand with simple day-to-day tasks in the non-medical spectrum.  Better at Home also strives to work with other seniors service providers to reduce service duplication, improve integration of services, and thereby improve seniors? abilities to remain independent at home.


Seeking a Consultant Event Coordinator for Better at Home

Better at Home is seeking a Consultant Event Coordinator to work in close collaboration with the Better at Home provincial office to the coordinate planning for and hosting of the 2015 Fall Provincial Meetup.

If you are interested in applying for this opportunity, please see the Request for Proposal below.

Consultant Event Coordinator RFP (Submission deadline: Friday 26 June, 2015, 11:30am PDT)