Horne: Initiatives for Okanagan seniors helpful to family caregivers

Kelowna and West Kelowna programs for seniors with health issues also greatly benefit their caregivers.

  • Jun. 14, 2016 5:00 a.m.

HorneThe journey of aging is sometimes not for the faint of heart.

Unexpected challenges often present themselves for both seniors and for their family members who wish to support them through transitions in a helpful and loving way.

The emotional and organizational dynamics these challenges can present may often feel like traveling through a new town without a GPS or a map and trying to go down different roads to find what you are looking for.

It can be frustrating and exhausting, with all of the reactions that can entail.

Reaching out for support to get the information and advice that will be helpful in making sound decisions is often the most valuable thing that you can do to ease the stress that comes from facing situations you may not always feel equipped to handle.

Particularly in caring for your parents as they are aging with the established roles that are ever present between you, no matter what your age.

This can add to the confusion of how to best support a parent’s independence, but move closer to the interdependence that may be called for.

In my role as an eldercare consultant within my company, Caresmart Seniors Consulting, this is one of the joys of my work.

Providing not only professional navigation and coordination, but also the emotional support that is often what a family needs the most to bring some light into their eldercaring journey.

Sometimes just having a two-hour consultation can provide a necessary road map to support families in knowing where to go, what step to take first and how to discern what the priorities are that might assist the whole family in traversing changes that may be happening.

We are very fortunate in Kelowna, West Kelowna and Peachland to have three wonderful organizations available as well that can help guide and counsel families.

The Seniors Outreach & Resource Centre is located at 102-2055 Benvoulin Crt. in the Apple Valley Seniors’ Residence. It is operated by the Seniors Outreach Services Society.

The centre’s goal is to work with seniors, their families, caregivers and other professionals in the community to ensure seniors are receiving the best and most appropriate services available.

The Regional Housing Program is a valuable support also when relocation is necessary to meet changing needs. The program can be reached at 250-861-6180 or online seniorsoutreach.ca.

The Westside Health Network Society, 160-2300 Carrington Rd. in West Kelowna, began as one woman’s dream and is now a flourishing network of staff and volunteers dedicated to caring for seniors.

They promote seniors’ wellness through volunteerism, educational programs, referral and social programs and provide information and opportunities on health and social issues that include the Medwatch and Better At Home Programs, as well as computer and other device tutorials and assistance.

There are many activities to participate in that allow local seniors to get engaged with their community and be involved in making a difference in someone’s life who may feel isolated and alone.

Contact the society at 250-768-3305 or online westsidehealthnetwork.com.

They say that “people are at the heart of the Peachland Wellness Centre,” and every time I walk into the lovely little house at 4426 5th St. in Peachland that is what I feel.

There is a wonderful ambiance in this centre that oozes well-being and it is a pleasure to just sit and soak it in.

The staff and volunteers run many programs and services to give you the opportunity to have fun, make new friends, tone your body, and even your mind.

We need a centre like this in every neighborhood.

There are programs that are sure to peak a variety of interests.

Their services include Outreach to assist the residents of Peachland in ways that enable them to remain independent in their homes.

Since all B.C. surveys show that 90 per cent of seniors want to stay in their own homes for as long as possible, Peachland Wellness Centre is integral in making this happen in this small community.

They also provide a transportation service, Better At Home Program (betterathome.ca), and liaison with Central Intake at Interior Health.

Call them at 250-767-0141 or online peachlandwellnesscentre.ca.

***

Explore, Connect and Create this Friday at the 3rd annual Creative Aging Day hosted by the Rotary Centre for the Arts in Kelowna, 421 Cawston Ave.

The event is free and will run from 10 a.m. to 4 p.m.. Call 250-717-5314 for more details.

Communities are meant to flourish through embracing all within its fold as having value and being relevant to the good of the whole.

Enhancing interconnectedness can only make our communities better for everyone who lives here.

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