The Better at Home program is offering services to seniors who live independently and coordinator April Christensen, pictured above, said they could use more volunteers so she encourages anyone interested to sign up. Photo by Jaime Polmateer

Program helps Clearwater seniors stay at home

Some services offered include light housekeeping, yard work, snow shoveling, and minor home repairs

Any seniors in the Clearwater area who live independently, but could still use a helping hand around the house, need to look no further than the Better at Home program.

Better at Home, which is a joint effort between Yellowhead Community Services (YCS) and United Way of the Lower Mainland, offers non-medical services to seniors who want to stay in their own homes.

“There’s nothing like it in Clearwater that covers all the things we do,” said April Christensen, North Thompson Better at Home coordinator.

“Those who are accessing the program right now say they wished it was here many years ago.”

Some of the services offered by the program include light housekeeping, yard work, snow shoveling, and minor home repairs, as well as grocery shopping, friendly visiting and driving seniors to medical appointments and social engagements.

To be eligible for services seniors must meet four criteria — be 65 years or more, live alone or with another senior, live in the Clearwater area, and have a need for service.

Christensen noted there’s a fee for all the services, but the program works on a subsidy base and most of the seniors receive free services or pay very little per hour depending on their last year’s tax return. Any money that does get paid goes right back into the program.

Better at Home started in May 2019 and is currently serving 21 local seniors.

The program has a component that’s volunteer-based and at the moment coordinators are struggling to get more hands on deck, so Christensen said she encourages anyone interesting in helping out to contact YCS.

“Our biggest service is really housekeeping and transportation; that also requires volunteers and we do refund volunteer drivers for their mileage,” she said.

Another thing to note is that parents who might be interested in volunteering don’t necessarily have to find time away from their children to help out, as one of the Better at Home volunteers brings her 18-month-old daughter for friendly visits and it only serves to enrich the experience for the seniors who enjoy the company.

Anyone who wants to volunteer, or knows a senior who might need benefit from the program, can call 250-674-2600.

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