Reaching out to seniors in isolation improves health, quality of life.

FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE

September 29, 2014

VICTORIA, BC – In honour of National Seniors Day celebrated across Canada on Wednesday, October 1, 2014, United Way Greater Victoria announces its ongoing commitment to improve the quality of life for seniors who live alone across the region.

“There is considerable research which shows a clear link between loneliness and health problems among the elderly,” says Patricia Jelinski, CEO at United Way. “This is a serious social condition for our region given our aging population. We continue to work with our funded partners in every Victoria neighbourhood to address the matter in creative and positive ways.”

“Like making Sundays a little less lonely,” says Bev King, long-standing United Way donor who has considerable passion and respect for the older individuals of her community.

Inspired by a close friend who is a United Way supporter, Bev reached out to the James Bay New Horizons Society through United Way to discuss ways she could help them to make Sundays a whole lot more fun and meaningful for local isolated seniors. Together, James Bay New Horizons Society, United Way and Bev developed an affordable, bi-weekly Sunday dinner program with nutritious “themed” hot meals, entertainment and games, that proved to be very popular. So much so that starting in October, those dinners will become weekly events throughout the winter months thanks to Bev’s generous support.

Oak Bay and Saanich Volunteer Services Societies also offer a range of supports for seniors in their districts. As community funded partners with United Way, these societies promote independent living for local seniors. Services include transportation to appointments, companion visiting and shopping, phone visits, reading, writing and help with completing forms including income tax returns, as well as minor home repairs and yard work.

“I think about how much the elderly people in my life have given to me, to my family, and to my world,” says Bev. “This generation has been through so much in comparison to my generation. I’m not sure how well I might have fared if confronted by world wars, economic collapse, and so much loss. Giving to create something as simple as a welcoming dinner event just for those seniors who are on their own, well, it’s worth it just to see them having such a good time together over a classic Sunday dinner.”

United Way and its many supporters lead social change by identifying immediate needs for services and addressing root causes of problems facing individuals, families and neighbourhoods. Staff work closely with community funded partners and donors to help prevent issues from becoming crisis situations.

In 2013 within its priority area of Strong Communities, United Way helped to improve the quality of life for 24,000 individuals and 2,000 families facing challenges of isolation and personal crisis. More specifically, 7,000 seniors and persons with disabilities were supported by a range of community partners to live independently, and another 1,000 isolated individuals were supported to develop supportive relationships.

Donations to United Way’s community campaign are accepted at workplaces, United Way’s office at 1144 Fort Street, via phone 250-385-6708 or online at uwgv.ca. Our 2014 community campaign goal is $6 Million. Unite to Change.

-30-

Listen to Patricia Jelinski on Cafe Victoria with Bruce Williams talking about National Seniors Day:

For more information, please contact:
Heather Skydt, Director Marketing and Communications
United Way
Work: (250)984-2269
Email: heather.skydt@uwgv.ca

Patricia Jelinski, CEO
United Way
Work:(250) 220-7364
Cell:(250) 217-8698
Email:  patricia.jelinski@uwgv.ca

BACKGROUND: United Way is a year-round fundraiser and community funder working to address the immediate needs of our most vulnerable citizens, while also creating long-term strategies to target the root causes of social issues. We have a strong history in Greater Victoria – over 77 years and $144 million dollars raised. As the region’s largest non-government funder, we are one of the few organizations to provide multi-year funding to ensure we support a strong and stable network of services. We work collaboratively, in a “united way” bringing business, labour, government, the non-profit sector and donors together to build a strong and caring community. Our 2014 community campaign goal is $6 Million. Unite to Change. Please join us today at uwgv.ca.