United Way works with our community partners to fund a compassionate network of services that reaches out to people in need by targeting the factors that create the most barriers for them.
Michael is one example of a senior who faces multiple challenges:
Michael is 75 years old and lives alone in an apartment. He has been a Victoria resident for many years and used to enjoy an active and happy social life. He worked hard as a health care aide for over 50 years but now he is dependent on others for so much. Two years ago, Michael lost his partner and recently suffered a fall that has left him unable to get around without the aid of a walker. His life has become one of isolation and depression. Because of his failing health and progressive hearing loss, Michael has had to give up his vehicle – something that has given him independence and the ability to leave the house when he needs to make appointments, get groceries, or visit friends. Unable to shop for healthy food, his diet has become poor and he often feels hungry, tired, and weak. Michael would like to get out more and make some new connections but he doesn’t know who to talk to or where to turn. He feels bad asking his neighbours for help and tries to be as self-sufficient as possible, but it’s getting harder every day. In addition, Michael’s low income limits his ability to get fitted for a proper hearing aid. Without one, he feels further isolated and finds conversations frustrating. Having always been a strong and active community member, Michael feels vulnerable and trapped in his situation. Sometimes, he doesn’t even want to go on.
How United Way’s Network of Services address Michael’s Challenges:
Social Isolation & Depression – A compassionate listening ear can make a great difference to a senior struggling with grief and depression following the loss of a partner. Greater Victoria Citizens Counselling provides individual or small group sessions to offer hope and guidance.
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.
Transportation for Day-toDay 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.
Food Preparation & 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.
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.
Help Michael and thousands more local people reach the services they need. Your gift will change a life. Donate today.