Safe Seniors, Strong Communities

Local Love in Action During COVID-19

We’re all feeling vulnerable because of COVID-19. Now, imagine you’re a senior living independently with the help of family and friends. Calls for social distancing and self-isolation to prevent the spread of the outbreak means you’re finding these supports unavailable.

Help a call or a click away

This has changed with a new province-wide initiative, Safe Seniors, Strong Communities. By simply dialing 2-1-1 or filling in an online form at www.bc211.ca, Seniors 65 and older can request volunteer help with grocery shopping, meal preparation, and prescription pick-up, or they can receive a friendly check-in call.

“With Safe Seniors, Strong Communities available through bc211, we’ll be able to help seniors stay healthy, engaged and connected,” says Kahir Lalji, Provincial Director, Population Health, United Way of the Lower Mainland.

bc211, Better at Home and you

bc211 is a nonprofit organization that specializes in providing information and referral regarding community, government and social services in BC. bc211 will monitor calls and online applications for the Safe Seniors, Strong Communities Program, both from seniors wanting help and from volunteers willing to step up.

This information is shared with one of 24 designated Better at Home COVID-response agencies across BC who match local volunteers with seniors who need help. Services provided follow Ministry of Health safety and social distancing guidelines.

“We can each be a part of the COVID-19 solution in our own way by being a good neighbour or by volunteering,” said Adrian Dix, Minister of Health. “That is why as part of our COVID-19 response we are working together with the United Way of the Lower Mainland to expand local level community services that put volunteers in touch with seniors throughout the province.”

bc211 expands

Safe Seniors, Strong Communities is available across BC, thanks to the expansion of bc211 to include the Northern and Interior health regions. These areas did not previously have access to bc211 service by phone. bc211 is available 24 hours a day, seven days a week.  Safe Seniors, Strong Communities is a new partnership between United Way’s Better at Home program, bc211, and the BC Government through the Ministry of Health.

“We’re excited to be collaborating with bc211 and the Ministry of Health to deliver these essential supports to seniors,” says Michael McKnight, President & CEO, United Way of the Lower Mainland. “It is important that we support our most vulnerable citizens during this challenging time with local communities and community agencies being essential to these efforts. If you are a senior in need of support, we urge you to reach out.”

Volunteers can sign up to help a senior in their community by visiting www.bc211.ca. Click the “NEW Safe Seniors, Strong Communities Program” link on the bc211 home page.