Better at Home funding helps seniors across Nechako Lakes

Fraser Lake has secured funding for a Better At Home pilot project that will reach Fort St. James and Vanderhoof.

Vanderhoof — Fraser Lake has secured funding for a Better At Home pilot project that will reach Fort St. James and Vanderhoof. The initiative was rolled out to six rural communities in B.C including Fraser Lake as part of a $4 million contribution from the B.C. government and is being distributed through United Way. The funding will help support seniors in remote areas with services such as transportation, home visits, snow removal, deliveries, light house keeping, light yard work and minor home repairs. The price of services will be based on income and will be available for people aged 50 and up.

Autumn Services in Fraser Lake is the go-to hub for participants and volunteers with Sarah Nahornoff-Storey as the program coordinator.

The Fraser Lake funding will be for the communities of Coreyville, Stellako, North Shore, Francois Lake, Fraser Lake, Stellaten First Nation, Nadleh First Nation and Fort Fraser. Nechako Valley Community Services in Vanderhoof will see $10,000 to help with transportation and another $10,000 will go to Seniors Helping Seniors in Fort St. James.

Emily Columbo, economic development officer in FSJ, says Seniors Helping Seniors will use the money to help expand their services to Vanderhoofians.

“We offer free medical transportation to and from Prince George. We’ll take them to the airport too, doesn’t have to be medical, but specifically for seniors. We pick people up right from A&W and we try to coordinate it when we already have Fort St. James clients going,” Columbo said.

Nahornoff-Stoery says Fraser Lake was chosen for the project because United Way is already helping out Vanderhoof and Fort St. James.

“Both VHF and FSJ are getting more of a top up because they both have municipal backing where Fraser Lake doesn’t yet,” Nahornoff-Storey said. “But this will definitely help seniors, in all towns, age in place, so they’ll be able to stay in their homes longer. With lack of health services available to our area, taxis, transportation and trying to get to appointments, they’ll be able to get to those appointments and hopefully stay in their houses longer instead of going to assisted living. It helps them stay more active and in better frame-of-mind keeping them close to home and their families.”

The pilot project has started but is still in the beginning stages.

Anyone interested in participating in the Better at Home program or willing to volunteer, can contact Sarah Nahornoff-Storey at 1-250-699-1681.

Anyone interested in Seniors Helping Seniors transportation can call the FSJ coordinator Yvonne Sam 1-250-996-8408 or Vicki Larson at Nechako Valley Community Services at 1-250-567-9205.