We are all aware that the pandemic has brought to light a number of shortcomings in our health care system, specifically with regard to seniors.
For a number of years the focus has been on seniors aging in place. This is beneficial in that seniors living in their own homes stay more active and healthier and put less strain on our healthcare system.
We have low income seniors living at home that are unable to vacuum because they need to hang onto their walker for balance—they can’t get down onto their knees to scrub the bathtub. But they’re still much better at home than in a facility.
The Better at Home provincial program, run locally by NexusBC, provides some basic housekeeping for low income seniors. Costs have risen to $5 per hour due to the pandemic and the existing budget now covers fewer seniors.
Our community care nurses have mentioned that some of their patients are having to do without basic housekeeping. Personally, I cannot imagine being unable to do simple housekeeping chores and having to live with the result.
Not all housekeeping is cleaning. In some cases, a light bulb needs to be changed or a drawer pull needs to be tightened. These are simple things to fix that make life so much easier.
NexusBC is currently providing 45 clients with housekeeping once every two weeks, and another 18 with cleaning once a month. 95% of these are subsidized through the Better at Home program. In addition, they have many individuals on the waitlist. Locally, the Better at Home program needs an additional $1,792 per month to make the lives of 36 low income seniors a bit easier.
I have written to (Vernon-Monashee) MLA (Harwinder Sandhu) and encouraged her to meet with the Seniors’ Advocate in Victoria.
The United Way is also requesting a larger budget for this program and the MLAs will vote on this sometime in the next month. The fiscal year-end for the provincial government is March 31.
Our low income seniors need our help.
I urge all concerned citizens to send an email Sandhu, asking her to advocate for more funding for this issue. Her email is: [email protected].
Catherine Lord, Vernon Seniors Action Network