Seniors in northern B.C. will benefit from new programs to address social isolation, nutrition needs and active movement, through new funding to three northern community organizations.
“We are making investments into community-based seniors’ services in every corner of the province,” said Adrian Dix, Minister of Health, in a news release. “This includes transportation and social inclusion programs to help seniors stay active in the community and engaged in community programs that supports healthy aging and quality of life.”
Through Northern Health, the Ministry of Health is funding $100,000 grants to an initial group of three organizations. This is part of a provincial initiative to help British Columbia’s seniors maintain meaningful social connections through a series of community projects to support healthy aging in place and improve opportunities for social connection.
Community-based seniors’ services play an important role in supporting seniors to age in their own homes by improving access to physical and social activities and healthy food, helping them live healthier lives. The northern projects are:
- Dawson Creek Society for Community Living – Received $100,000 to improve access to healthy food and social connection for seniors, and is currently conducting focus groups with and planning a survey for local seniors on these topics
- Prince George Council of Seniors – Received $100,000 to create a variety of programming in conjunction with community partners, including an Ambassador Program to assist seniors to integrate into participating community seniors centres in Prince George
- Smithers Community Services Association – Received $100,000 to improve social connections, encourage greater participation at existing programs, and work with community partners to more fully understand needs for new services and enhancements to current programs
“Northern Health’s shared goal, with the Ministry of Health and community organizations supporting seniors, is to improve the lives of seniors through developing services and supports in the community to allow people to live at home, longer,” said Northern Health board chair Colleen Nyce. “We look forward to these programs benefiting seniors across our region.”
The province is also providing funding to several community organizations in B.C. so they can provide better transportation for seniors. In the Northern Health region, seniors have access to affordable and safe travel on NH Connections, which expanded eligibility in 2018 to include anyone 60 years or older. That expansion was in recognition of a report from the Office of the Seniors Advocate, pointing out that access to transportation is an increasing barrier to the long-term health of seniors.