It’s a wonder the provincially backed Better at Home program isn’t talked about more often.
The potential is considerable in that the goal of the Better at Home program is for B.C.’s older adults to age in place. Studies show people who age at home live happier, healthier lives, which eases the burden on the medical system.
Through Better at Home, non-medical services such as house cleaning are provided on a sliding scale, while volunteers support in other ways.
The province partnered with United Way to oversee Better at Home in 67 communities. Since 2014 it’s been run in Greater Victoria through Kelly Sprackett at the Broadmead Care Society, in partnership with Saanich Volunteer Services and Beacon Community Services.
In 2017 there were 104 clients who received housekeeping through Saanich Better at Home, 98 of which were subsidized.
“Housekeeping is a really big appeal, people need it, but they can’t all afford it at market rate,” said Sprackett, co-ordinator of volunteer engagement and the Better at Home program.
Hired cleaners are vetted before entering any homes.
If there are any seniors out there who can afford the market rate of about $30, Sprackett would like to recruit them, as it would garner a margin of revenue towards the program.
Aside from house cleaning the Better at Home program finds many ways to support seniors.
In addition to Better at Home, Broadmead has launched a grocery shopping pilot project using Broadmead Care’s bus.
It started in November. The bus features a driver, a Broadmead Care staff member and SVS volunteers. The trip collects seniors and takes them to Uptown where they have access to pharmaceutical and grocery needs.
“It offers access to healthy foods, exercise and socialization,” said Sprackett.
The Saanich trip culminates with coffee at McDonald’s (Broadmead is running a grocery bus in the Peninsula as well).
“In just four months we have been able to support 18 Saanich residents with their weekly grocery needs,” Sprackett said.
Broadmead Care is now looking for funding to develop the grocery bus into a financially sustainable program.
There were 198 registered volunteers, who logged 11,000 hours through the Lodge at Broadmead and Nigel House programs in 2017.
That said, the need for volunteers is as great now as ever, Sprackett said, be it for Better at Home, or for the many programs such as spending time one-on-one with someone suffering dementia, or assisting on the shopping trips.
To learn more about Broadmead Care contact Shannon Donnelly at 250-658-3274 or firstname.lastname@example.org, and to learn more about Better at Home services contact Saanich Volunteer Services at 250-595-8008.