Kelowna, British Columbia
Funds will be used to develop a daily Safety Check program, where volunteers will call seniors each morning, to check that they are safe and well. This will primarily be for the many seniors who live in Kelowna, but do not have family to help or watch out for them. Because our city is very much a retirement town, and also many seniors move here due to our regional hospital, Cardiac unit and Cancer Centre, many local seniors do not have a support system here, not family, long time neighbours or church and other connections. The existing seniors contact program cannot meet the demand for this service, so we need to develop an new program to meet the need. In this time of uncertainty, it is especially important that seniors isolated at home have regular contact with someone else in order to help them to stay safe and feel connected. If a senior falls or experiences a stroke for instance, then a morning all each day will be a way to get help quickly. if someone passes, they will not lay there for days prior to be discovered. Abuse, neglect and self-neglect are more likely to occur when in extreme isolation, so it is very important that this service become available in our community.
We provide programs that help seniors maintain independence, safety, housing and other non-medical needs. These include Information and Referral, ElderNet tech mentoring, Coffee Breaks, resource and housing directories, crisis counselling, income tax preparation, house cleaning, friendly visitors, yard care, snow shoveling, transportation, grocery shopping, Santa to a Senior and minor home repairs. We also provide informational presentations on pertinent topics, a monthly housing information session and an annual Seniors Safety Fair, focused on abuse prevention.
The work we do with seniors is preventative, and lessens demand on the health care system, reducing visits to physicians for non-medical needs and to the emergency department of the hospital. We help to provide services that prolong independence, promote safety and prevent abuse, link seniors to needed services and resources and each other. Isolation is known to affect health as much as smoking does, and our services help to reduce isolation and create a sense of belonging and hope. In 2018 we responded to more than 12,000 phone calls, provided 3913 non-medical home supports, 6 volunteers prepared over 800 income tax forms and provided 307 tech mentoring sessions. Staff provided one on one support in our office to more than 307 seniors, up 54% over 2017, and 138 seniors attended our housing information sessions. We were happy to welcome 27 new volunteers in 2018, and 34 seniors in dire need received Christmas gifts!
"You do really amazing work here. I hope you know that"
"Thank you so much; this has changed my life!"
~client who had 10 years of taxes completed
"I really don't know what I would do without you and your service."
"I was so stressed about where to take my taxes. I will actually sleep tonight."
"Thank you. I don't have to choose between filing my taxes or buying food"
"There's nowhere else like this place in the community where my clients can get the help they need! I'm excited for how these returns will change their lives!"
~outreach worker from another local non-profit
Our mission is to enhance the lives of seniors, either through direct service provision or by connecting them to other needed services and resources. This prolongs independence, reduces isolation. provides hope and prevents abuse, neglect and self-neglect.