Better at home with the United Way

Thanks to a new Penticton and District Community Society program seniors are able stay where they’re happiest

For Audrey Kay, there really is no place like home.

Thanks to a new Penticton and District Community Society program, she and other seniors are able stay where they’re happiest.

Funded in part by the local chapter of the United Way, Better at Home provides seniors with services like housekeeping, yard work and transportation at a minimal cost.

“I’m 76 and on a fixed income and otherwise if I did not have this I would have to move to some kind of assisted living place,” said Kay, who lives in a mobile home. “Here I have a piece of grass I can go out and walk on in my bare feet and a great, big deck where I can enjoy  the birds and the little animals that come around and stuff.

“I still do what I can because I don’t want to lose my mobility and independence. To get pulled away from your home is a terrific adjustment when you’re older.”

The program began in July and uses a combination of donated and contract labour.

“The key is not to create dependence,” said  Myrna Tischer, who co-ordinates the work. “We really go in with the mindset of helping with the things that people need. Lots of folks are still able to manage to a point but they still need certain things.”

The cost to the recipient is on a sliding scale based on income.

She added because it is still in its infancy, many more volunteers are needed.

“It’s not a huge commitment. If we have enough people able to give a little bit of time, it benefits everybody,” said Tischer. “We look for people who respect seniors, who are going to be open, patient, understanding and reliable and want to enhance someone else’s life. It’s about caring and compassion.”

Karen Judenhagen, 38, a cardio technician at Penticton Regional Hospital signed up as a volunteer as soon as she heard about the plan.

She is now helping an elderly couple on a regular basis.

“It’s hard not to make new friends and to see their joy makes it so worth it,” said Judenhagen. “It’s so easy for me to do what they need me to do and they really appreciate it. That’s something we don’t get so much of in the world today.”

For more information contact the society at 250-492-2926.