Community

Better at Home: seniors face challenges daily

As community developer for the United Way's "Better at Home" program, Deirdre Goudriaan has the task of estimating how many Langley seniors are isolated and or vulnerable.

The majority of older adults wish to live independently as long as possible but as the risk of physical and cognitive decline increases with age, the risk of vulnerability also increases.

According to the 2011 Census, Langley City and Township has a total population of 25,081 seniors (Statistics Canada, 2011). In 2006, the proportion of seniors aged 75 and over living alone was 53 percent in the City of Langley (United Way, 2011).

"We are living longer and the number of residents over the age of 80 is increasing and projected to grow," said Goudriaan.

"As we age, other risk factors increase such as social isolation as we lose our friends and loved ones. Geographic distances for outlying areas like Aldergrove and Walnut Grove diminish access to suitable transportation. This is a particular concern for seniors in Langley since community connections decrease the likelihood of elder abuse, neglect or self-neglect. The vast majority of our seniors are socially active, healthy and capable but we also have others who struggle with day to day tasks that the agile take for granted."

Furthermore, life circumstances can very quickly change the picture for any individual and can lead to a significant loss in quality of life. How many seniors do we have in this community who could successfully maintain their independence with a little bit of practical support?

Langley has an opportunity to launch the new Better at Home program with the help of the United Way to provide non-medical home support services such as light housekeeping, grocery shopping, transportation to appointments, simple home repairs, friendly visiting, light yard work, snow shoveling.

"In order for this to happen, we need the support and the will of the community to identify priorities and make this program a reality," said Goudriaan.

"If you, or someone you know needs this kind of support, please add your voice. I encourage all seniors and stakeholders to attend the community meeting on Nov. 26, from 10 a.m. to 12:30 p.m. at the Douglas Recreation Centre, 20550 Douglas Cres., where the findings of this project will be presented along with a final chance to provide input."

Refreshments will be provided.

To register for the Langley Better at Home Community Meeting or provide input to this project, call Deirdre Goudriaan or email deirdre@teamplayconsulting.com, and for more information see www.betterathome.ca

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