Community-based support services incorporate a range of resources that assist people living at home with tasks of daily living, and help alleviate some of the demands placed on family caregivers. These services include home visitors, walking companions, odd jobs, gardening, reading, letter writing and transportation to appointments or shopping.
Meal programs Some seniors' centres and residential facilities provide meals to seniors on a drop-in basis. Meals on Wheels and many catering companies will deliver meals to your home. These businesses may offer senior's discounts and cater to special diets.
Grocery delivery services Some seniors' centres and residential facilities provide meals to seniors on a drop-in basis. Meals on Wheels and many catering companies will deliver meals to your home. These businesses may offer senior's discounts and cater to special diets.
Laundry services In many communities, there are companies that will pick up laundry at your home, wash, dry, fold and deliver it back to your home. The cost for these services varies.
Housecleaning services Some housecleaning companies will provide additional services: laundry, moving furniture, taking out garbage and garden work. The rates vary significantly, and not all companies offer a discount to seniors.
Transportation services A number of transportation services exist that benefit seniors. BC Transit and BC Ferries offer discount fares for seniors. BC Transit also offers Taxi Saver coupons and HandiDart. HandiDart is a special door-to-door service for eligible people with disabilities and seniors who are unable to use regular public transit. Some local taxi companies have specially-equipped vehicles available.
Equipment supplies and loan cupboards A variety of aids and equipment are available on loan or for purchase to assist seniors or people with various communication, mobility and or specific personal care needs. These include medical equipment, incontinence supplies, mobility aids, vision aids and hospital beds.
Medical alert systems Medical alert systems are 24-hours-a-day seven-days-a-week monitoring services for frail elders and people with disabilities. The system typically hooks into a person's phone system. Installation costs and monthly monitoring fees vary from company to company.
Community bathing services Community bathing services are for people who cannot safely use the bathing facilities in their own home, even with the installation of devices such as grab bars and bath boards. The program offers attention to personal hygiene provided by a skilled nursing assistant. Services include a tub bath, hair care and care to fingernails and toenails.
Contact information for services are available through your regional health authority Home and Community Care Program, the Yellow Pages or local seniors' organizations. Or you can call the Family Caregivers' Network (250-384-0408) and we will help connect you with the appropriate resources. In the CRD, Seniors Serving Seniors produces a free Seniors' Services Directory, which is a comprehensive listing of community services available for seniors. (250-382-4331, www.seniorsservingseniors.bc.ca).
Next month: Preparing for the Move to a Care Facility.