Community health programs improve lives of seniors

Topics: New Brunswick, Nova Scotia, Community Health
August 21, 2012

Regional community health programs can improve the lives of seniors

Is there a senior citizen in your life who is struggling with a serious medical issue or is unable to meet the financial demands of living independently? While this can be a source of great stress for your loved one and family, many regional initiatives can offer support during this trying time.

According to Statistics Canada, between 2006 and 2026, the senior population is expected to increase from 4.3 million to 8 million, which makes community health programs like those offered by the Canadian Red Cross even more significant.

Does your relative need a little help shouldering the costs of medical devices? Available regionally by the Canadian Red Cross, the Health Equipment Loan Program (HELP) has granted crutches, canes and other specialized equipment to those in need for more than 50 years. In the Atlantic provinces of New Brunswick and Nova Scotia, more than 50,000 pieces of vital equipment are made available each year with the help of generous donor support.

Home care services through the Canadian Red Cross  are offered in Ontario, New Brunswick and the Halifax region of Nova Scotia. Highly-trained and knowledgeable staff are on hand to provide the in-home care that your loved one may need and can do so 24 hours a day, seven days a week.

From personal services like bathing, grooming and dressing assistance to light housekeeping, home management and transportation to appointments, Personal Support and Community Support workers can provide caregivers with peace of mind and an invaluable level of additional support. In Ontario alone, more than 4 million hours worth of home support services were granted in 2011.

Senior citizens who are eager to continue living on their own will gain a much-needed boost through the Homeward Bound program, which is a new initiative at the Sarnia-Lambton branch of the Canadian Red Cross that helps seniors transitioning out of the hospital reassert their independence and settle back into their homes.

Even if your loved one maintains a residence, you may be concerned about the nutritional value of food he or she consumes. Throughout Ontario in 2011, the Meals for Wheels program provided nearly 260,000 meals to those unable to prepare food as a result of illness, infirmity or disability. This excellent resource can ensure that your older relative has a balanced diet of healthy meals to minimize risk of developing other long-term medical issues.

If you believe your loved one would be a good fit for one of these programs, be sure to visit your local Red Cross, where a supervisor can help determine eligibility and craft the right healthcare plan to best meet his or her needs.