Personal Best: Seniors are on the move

Pat Black looks praises several groups in the North Okanagan that provide services to seniors

October brings many changes to the land with the cold nip of coming winter and the changing colour of the leaves.

Lots of changes and new directions for many seniors programs in the area as well. The Seniors Information and Resource Bureau (SIRB) has moved to NexusBC Community Resource Centre (formerly called North Okanagan Employment Enhancement Society) and has become the Seniors Services Division of this organization. The office is now at 3201 30th St., #102, next to the Access Centre across from the old library. Along with this move, a new program, Better At Home, will be introduced. Aimed at keeping seniors in their own homes as long as possible, the program will try to supply services identified in a recent needs survey such as transportation, house cleaning, shopping, home maintenance, meal preparation, etc. Better At Home programs will be funded across B.C. under the aegis of United Way with 34 now currently funded. Vernon will receive $100,000 per year from 2013 to 2015.

The United Way has encouraged lots of consultation and held many meetings in the area to determine what the community needs and an advisory committee will be formed from different sectors to develop a local and specialized program that meets the needs of this area. There will be one paid staff worker and the rest volunteers with some money for paid workers as well. Fees will be decided on a sliding scale and may also be free. The program will cover greater Vernon and if successful would meet the needs of many seniors who want to stay in their own homes.

It makes good sense to have programs for seniors that are not only welcome but economically sound as the seniors’ population increases.  Right now in this region there are more residents over 45 than under 45 and demographic trends indicate that while one in five residents are seniors in 2011 this is expected to rise to one in three by 2031. Someone may finally be listening to seniors.

Also good news for the Schubert Centre as the official OK from the City of Vernon has finally been received and they can proceed with actually selling units at Katherine Gardens through their life lease agreements. The new seniors housing complex will be located behind the centre. Twenty-seven units have already been reserved and now firm offers can be accepted and purchased with a down payment and development will proceed. There will be 56 units in total including three that belong to Schubert Centre for affordable housing rental. For more information call 250-309-7573.

The City of Vernon Community Policing Office has moved and Ed Howard, Seniors Program coordinator, is now at City Hall but Ed wants all seniors to know that he can and will come to you if you have a problem. Just call him at 250-550-7840. This is another great service for seniors.

Pat Black writes about issues of concern to seniors in the North Okanagan, appearing every other Sunday.