Dear Editor:

As the co-ordinator of the Better at Home program I would like to update you on the status of this program. Before I do this I would like to thank all of you for your participation in the initial needs assessment meetings that resulted in funding for this much-needed program in our valley.

We are in the developmental stage preparing to begin delivering the programs to seniors. I have been working on the foundation of the program by creating forms, policies, protocol, and procedures, a training handbook for volunteers and contractors and developing the data base for tracking clientele.

I have participated in a study conducted by the Michael Smith Foundation for Health Research.

The annual two-day, Better at Home Conference held in Burnaby the beginning of October provided an opportunity to meet and network with more than 100 other coordinators across the province.

I attended a half day training on using the data base as well as a number of valuable mini workshops presented during the conference.

The networking and knowledge shared by colleagues in the field as well as the United Way of the Lower Mainland provided a first hand opportunity to gather information on successes and pitfalls experienced by other community programs.

As you know, our program in the valley encompasses a large geographic area from Canal Flats to Spillimacheen. We have broken this area down into seven smaller service areas.

As a result we are hopeful that seniors will receive support from somebody who resides in their area. We believe this will further enhance a connectedness for seniors to other residents and activities in their community.

Senior representatives from each of these areas will come together to form a regional coalition to help identify the needs of each community. This will enable me to formulate the plan of action and prioritize the various components of service delivery.

These individuals serving on the coalition will represent their community and be ambassadors for the program. The first regional meeting of the Senior Coalition will be held in the beginning of November.

We are presently recruiting volunteers for the delivery of services. The first service to be implemented will be transportation.

This service was a result of input provided at the initial meeting, identified as the number one priority of need of the seniors in the Columbia Valley. We anticipate beginning the transportation component by the new year. I have been fielding a number of calls from community members who are both looking for service and looking to volunteer.

I am looking forward to working in collaboration with our seniors and all stakeholders to provide a strong service of support to seniors enabling them to live independently for longer.

If you have any questions I can be reached at [email protected] or Family Dynamix 250-342-5566 or my cell 250-342-1110.

Jennifer Lindal

Columbia Valley Better at Home