For almost 80 years, United Way Greater Victoria has listened to the needs of our community and funded an integral network of services that strive to reach our most vulnerable citizens.
Seniors over age 65 currently make up close to 18% of the population of Victoria and that number is only expected to rise. With this aging population come the challenges of failing health, lack of mobility, and difficulty accessing supports. Within our city there are many seniors facing extreme loneliness and isolation, malnutrition, and limited income that greatly impacts their physical, mental, and emotional well-being. These ‘adult orphans’ – who have experienced the loss of partners, family, and friends – often have limited connections that make day to day life a challenge. When Rita’s husband passed away, her life changed. She felt isolated in her own home. Thankfully, a United Way funded seniors program was the social lifeline she needed to get back to feeling like herself. View her story:
United Way works with our community partners to fund a compassionate network of services that reaches out to seniors in need by targeting the factors that create the most barriers for them. By giving to United Way, you support a network of specialized options for many seniors like Rita. One gift opens many doors. Please give today.
This National Seniors Day we highlight a few examples of United Way funded programs helping seniors in the CRD.
Social Isolation and Depression – When health fails, partners pass away, and transportation options are limited, depression and isolation can be overwhelming for vulnerable seniors. Silver Threads Service’s Identifying and Engaging Isolated Seniors program works to reconnect isolated seniors with building of social networks. Those who have withdrawn are gently re-introduced into smaller groups, where they can gain confidence and learn about many programs available to them in the city.
Transportation for Day-to-Day Activities – As they face declining health and vision, many seniors have to give up their vehicle. This lack of transportation can make it difficult to get to appointments and attend social activities. When physical mobility is affected, taking the bus can be tough and the cost of taxis is not always feasible for low-income individuals. Basic activities like shopping for groceries or doing repairs around the house can become increasingly difficult without help. Oak Bay volunteer Services Society and Saanich Volunteer Services Society offer one-to-one services to individuals of all ages including seniors, persons with disabilities, low income persons, and others in need. Services include drives to appointments, shopping, visits, minor home repairs, and daily reassurance calls.
Post-Hospitalization Support – For some isolated seniors, being discharged from the hospital following an illness or crisis is only the beginning of an ongoing health decline. Without support many frail seniors will end up back in the hospital. Seniors Serving Senior’s Return to Health program partners with Island Health to support people navigating the medical system and who are looking to gain connections to community services. Highly trained volunteers visit and phone regularly until the client is able to return to their normal activities.
Hearing Challenges – Island Deaf & Hard of Hearing Centre Association’s Lend an Ear Hearing Aid program provides refurbished hearing aids. Hearing aids can cost up to $7,000 and for many low-income seniors, being able to afford an essential medical device becomes nearly impossible. Being unable to hear increases social isolation and depression for sufferers and makes interactions with others difficult.
Food Preparation and Nutritional Concerns – Malnutrition and a lack of healthy food options is a concern for many vulnerable seniors. Depression and the inability to shop regularly can increase this challenge and make dietary health a significant worry. James Bay New Horizon’s Sunday Dinner program targets both nutrition and social isolation. It gives seniors an opportunity to meet new people. A three course meal is served at an affordable cost by volunteers and leftovers are sent home with the attendees.