We’re all feeling vulnerable because of COVID-19. Now, imagine you’re a senior living independently with the help of family and friends. Calls for social distancing and self-isolation to prevent the spread of the outbreak means you’re finding these supports unavailable.
“Seniors who live in their own homes are facing deepened isolation and a heightened sense of loneliness and lack access to resources during the current crisis,” says Kahir Lalji, Provincial Director, Population Health, United Way of the Lower Mainland. “Hearing a friendly voice, getting help picking up groceries and prescriptions is becoming increasingly difficult.”
Help a call or a click away
That changes today, when seniors will be able to receive the support they need free of charge during the COVID-19 crisis through a new province-wide initiative, Safe Seniors, Strong Communities by simply dialing 2-1-1 or filling in an online form at www.bc211.ca.
Seniors 65 and older can request volunteer help with grocery shopping, meal prep and prescription pick-up or receive a friendly check-in call.
“With Safe Seniors, Strong Communities available through bc211, we’ll be able to help seniors stay healthy, engaged and connected,” Kahir says.
bc211, Better at Home and you
That information is shared with one of 24 designated Better at Home COVID response agencies across B.C. who match local volunteers with seniors who need help. Services provided follow Ministry of Health safety and social distancing guidelines.
Help a senior in your community. Sign up today at www.bc211.ca.
Safe Seniors, Strong Communities is available throughout B.C., thanks to the expansion of bc211, a province-wide information and referral service, which is supported by United Ways across the province. bc211 will now include the Northern and Interior health regions, who did not previously have access to this service, which is available 24 hours a day, seven days a week.
“We are truly coming together as a community, and it is important we stay connected and ensure physical distancing doesn’t become social isolation during this difficult time – especially for seniors. We also know that seniors are asking for help,” said Adrian Dix, Minister of Health.
“We can each be a part of the COVID-19 solution in our own way by being a good neighbour or by volunteering. That is why as part of our COVID-19 response we are working together with the United Way of the Lower Mainland to expand local level community services that put volunteers in touch with seniors throughout the province.”
Local Love in Action
The program is a new partnership between United Way’s Better at Home program, United Way supported bc211 and the B.C. Government through the Ministry of Health.
“We’re excited to be collaborating with bc211 and the Ministry of Health to deliver these essential supports to seniors. It is important that we support our most vulnerable citizens during this challenging time, with local communities and community agencies being vital to these efforts,” says Michael McKnight, President & CEO, United Way of the Lower Mainland. “If you are a senior in need of support, we urge you to reach out.”
Visit www.bc211.ca to receive support or to volunteer.