Better at Home clients could soon benefit from a ‘wellness call’ phone service.

Better at Home clients could soon benefit from a ‘wellness call’ phone service.

Better at Home looking to launch new ‘wellness call’ service

Volunteers will be able to check in daily on vulnerable clients to ensure they’re okay.

The Better at Home program serving Ashcroft and Cache Creek is in an unusual position, says program coordinator Nancy Kendall: they have more volunteer drivers than they have clients who need that service. And the program is looking to institute a new service if there is enough demand: “Good morning/wellness” calls to clients who want them.

Kendall attributes the current driver/client imbalance to a couple of possible reasons. “The weather is getting better, so people might be out on their scooters. And I’m hoping that people are using the local bus. It’s only a toonie per ride on Wednesday and Friday afternoons. It’s a great service, but if we don’t use it we’ll lose it.”

Volunteer drivers are available to take clients to and from appointments and area businesses, although sufficient advance warning is necessary. .

Kendall says that she has recently been thinking and talking about a new program that would line up volunteers and registered Better at Home clients for good morning/wellness calls.

“It’s a check-in service,” she explains. “Volunteers call up clients who have registered and say ‘Good morning, is everything going well? Great; have a good day.’ It’s not a social or a long call, just a check-in targeted at people who live alone and who don’t have family, or don’t have family who are actively communicating with them.

“Accidents happen. And there would be a protocol to go through; we wouldn’t automatically call 9-1-1 if there was no answer. No one panics; people go out for the day and forget to let us know. If the next day there’s no answer then I would go to the client’s file and call their designated emergency person and ask ‘Do you know where [the client] is?’ If no one knows, we’d ask the RCMP to do a wellness check.”

Kendall says she would like to know if this is a service that is needed or wanted. She notes that family members can request it on behalf of clients, as long as they have spoken with the client about it. “If the client is okay with it we can go ahead, but it can’t be a surprise to them.

“If people need it or are interested in knowing more about it they should call Better at Home, and we can start a waiting list.”

Kendall says that housekeeping is still the main activity that the program provides to clients. There are four categories: one subsidized 100 per cent and one subsidized 70 per cent, both of which are, and two categories where clients pay for the service.

“Both of these have capacity,” says Kendall. “And we have the best housekeepers. They’re very compassionate and friendly, and there’s a bond that starts.”

She notes that the fourth category—where clients pay the full amount—is not restricted to seniors, and is how the entire Better at Home program keeps going. “We have unlimited space in that category. It’s the clients’ way of supporting Better at Home, and it’s very much appreciated.”

For more information about the Better at Home program, or to become a volunteer or client, call Kendall at (250) 457-1019.

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