When 95-year-old Prince George resident Faye* lost her husband, she was unsure how she would manage the upkeep on her home. She was also worried about social isolation because she doesn’t have any family living nearby.
In March 2014, with the help of Prince George Better at Home services Faye has been thriving at home for the past two years. Her home upkeep is well supported by the volunteers who come by to help inside and outside the house. She also really relies on the regular friendly visits help to battle the isolation of living alone.
Prince George Better at Home services and support have made significant positive changes in Faye’s life. Her daughter recently told program staff, “I talk to her once a week. She now has more to talk about due to having a weekly friendly volunteer that comes and plays cards with her and she loves the conversations with her housekeeper and grounds keeper. She seems to have some spirit back in her voice!”
* Names have been changed to protect the confidentiality of Better at Home clients
Building on community assets and developing capacity at the program level are at the root of Better at Home’s work.
One of the things that became very apparent, early in the development of the Better at Home program in Oceanside, was the need for our local seniors to have an opportunity to get out and get their own groceries.
All of the grocery stores in the Oceanside area deliver, however, it was evident that it was important to the seniors that they were able to see, and perhaps touch, the produce they were going to buy. It was important that, with a little bit of help, they would be able to reach that box that is on the highest shelf. That, with a little bit of help, they would be able to bring their groceries into their home and, often most importantly, they would have the opportunity to socialize with others. This is incredibly important to seniors who may otherwise be isolated by their inability to drive and/or by lack of public transportation service in their area.
Every second Friday the Society of Organized Services’ 23-seat bus, with a minimum of two volunteers on board, picks up the clients at their home and transports them to one of the local grocery stores. Once inside the store, the volunteers assist seniors needing the most support with their shopping. The volunteers also check to ensure the clients are finding the things they need (and constantly checking to ensure that no one is lost).
After shopping, the seniors will often stop for a coffee and snack, and that ever-important socialization. There are stories, laughter, more stories and the inevitable bonding that happens between clients and volunteers. Some of the seniors may actually only purchase one or two items and then move to the coffee area.
There is not a charge for this important and much-enjoyed service but we do ask for a donation to help defray the cost of the bus and driver. The service is becoming more and more popular – you never know, maybe we will go to a weekly service!