Caring for our elders

The Kelowna & District Safety Council is branching out by offering courses to help care for seniors at home.

As our population continues to age, providing quality care for seniors can help them continue to live at home and maintain their quality of life. "Not only is it essential to their quality of life, it is a significant factor in offsetting the high costs of in-facility health care," according to registered nurse and instructor Rae Stonehouse.

"Surprisingly, training and support for caregivers has been in short supply," he says.

Through KDSC, Stonehouse is offering the [email protected] course, designed to help support caregivers with information, insights, practical solutions, and a roadmap to senior-care resources.

The first program starts Monday and will consist of four two-hour sessions, on consecutive Monday evenings.

"The course will cover topics including the continuum of home support, maintaining senior independence, shared caregiver-senior decision making, home hazard awareness and accident prevention, senior-focused safety and assistance products, working with physicians and healthcare professionals, and caregiver self-care strategies," says Stonehouse.

“This course is part of an overall update of our safety course offerings," says John Grimes, executive director of KDSC. "For nearly 40 years, we have been a leader in the community in terms of safety education. We will continue to offer our time-honoured courses for children and adults, but as the community changes we want to stay abreast of new needs, and underserved sectors of the community.”

Stonehouse emphasizes that the program is not just for current caregivers, but also for people likely to find themselves providing care for someone in the future.

“Couples need to think about these things, too, since one or the other spouse will very possibly be a caregiver to their partner one day.”

The Okanagan has an increasingly aging population. The 2016 census indicates that the percentage of residents over the age of 65 is 21.4 per cent in Kelowna, 24 per cent in Vernon, 29 per cent in Penticton, and 32 per cent in Peachland.

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