Seniors in Dawson Creek will continue to have the support they need to stay in their homes longer under the new Better at Home program.
This provincial initiative will replace the Community Action for Seniors’ Independence program (CASI). It offers non-medical support for seniors by providing services such as house cleaning, friendly visits, home maintenance, transportation, snow removal and yard work.
“Now that CASI’s not actually a pilot project anymore, it’s going to be transitioning into an actual program. We’ll be joined by many, many other sites in the province offering similar services. Of course, the services will vary depending on the community, depending on what the community needs,” said Linda Studley, CASI coordinator.
Dawson Creek joins 37 other new locations that will be added to the Better at Home program, which is funded by the B.C. government but managed by the United Way of the Lower Mainland.
It was announced on Jan. 28 by Ralph Sultan, minister of state for seniors, and includes five CASI programs across the province.
“Better at Home is a program funded by this government that helps seniors live at home longer – among friends, family and neighbours – by providing simples services such as grocery shopping, friendly visits and snow removal,” said Sultan.
“We’re very pleased to be selected to manage this program by the ministry of health,” explained Christien Kaaij, provincial project manager for the Better at Home program.
“The United Way has a really great reputation in senior’s care and a lot of knowledge. Based on preliminary results of this CASI pilot, we were able to secure additional funding from the ministry of health, [like a] $15 million grant for three years to extend this CASI pilot into up to 60 sites all over the province.”
The CASI pilot program has been running in Dawson Creek since October 2010.
“We’re very proud that we were a part of the pilot project because we were the only northern community represented,” said Studley. “I think it was really important for (those funding the project) to hear what it was like in a northern community and understand maybe the differences between the north and south when it comes to what seniors needed.”
According to Kaaij, the CASI pilot project had positive results in Dawson Creek for helping seniors not only stay healthier but also live at home longer.
“What we’ve seen in Dawson Creek is seniors feel safer at home and fee supported, they’re able to get easier to appointments and connect to other people in their community,” she explained.
The CASI pilot program created the model for the Better at Home program, according to Studley and therefore, the Better at Home program will be a lot like the program in place now.
“Better at Home, is really going to be pretty much the same thing as the CASI program. I really like to tell people that don’t be afraid of the new name. It’s not changing the program. We’re going to be in the same place, it’ll be the same people it’ll be the same services, we’ll just have to change our forms because we’ve got a new name and they’ll be a few little things like that but it’s still CASI … now we’re a bigger family.”
Studley also added, “The goal remains the same and that goal is to help seniors remain independent in their home and remain connected to their community.”