Housekeeping biggest need for seniors, program finds

The Better at Home Program is finding that housekeeping is the biggest need of seniors in Williams Lake.

The Better at Home Program is finding that housekeeping is the biggest need of seniors in Williams Lake.

“We are providing housekeeping services and we did some snow shovelling,” said Sondra Giske, president of the Williams Lake and District Seniors’ Activity Centre Society board, on Monday. The program is under the society’s umbrella.

With spring finally arriving, yard work will also be a priority.

So far 20 seniors are receiving services, which Giske said is surprising because her staff has been so busy they haven’t had the time to make community presentations or get the word out.

Volunteers have stepped up to help, but there is still a need for people to provide visiting and transportation services, she continued.

“Volunteers can pick their own times to volunteer, depending on what they can do,” Giske said. “You don’t want to do yard work at night. Even if it’s one hour a month, that’s great. It’s up to each volunteer how much time they can contribute.”

Each volunteer does have to have a criminal record check, with the exception of a group of local students who are volunteering under the supervision of School District 27.

“They’ve been doing shovelling and will be doing some yard work, but because they are under supervision they don’t need a criminal record check. That’s taken care of by the supervisor.” Giske said Community Living people are always willing to help out as well doing gardening and yard work in the past, so Giske is hopeful they will be interested in Better At Home.

Williams Lake is one of 51 communities offering the program and recently Giske learned funding has been approved for Williams Lake for a second year.

The funding provides for the office and staff at the Seniors’ Activity Centre as well as covering the costs for housekeeping if a senior is eligible for a subsidy.

“We subsidize people who cannot afford to pay for it,” she said.

“It’s on a sliding scale. If a person’s income is less than $15,000 the service is free.”

If seniors can afford the service, then they pay for it.

In the future, Better At Home plans to provide light handyman services for home repairs. “There’s a big need,” Giske said. “Some seniors cannot afford to pay $60 an hour for someone to come and change a tap.”

The home repair service will also fall under the subsidy program, she added.

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