Red Cross announces pilot project to assist seniors in rural communities maintain independence

Topics: Saskatchewan, Community Health
March 23, 2015

(Regina, March 23, 2015) - The Canadian Red Cross is announcing a Friendly Visiting pilot program to combat seniors’ isolation. The Red Cross and the project’s founding partner, SecurTek, will officially launch the program in Yorkton this fall, with plans to expand to Preeceville, Norquay, Ituna, Melville, Langenburg and Churchbridge.
The three-year pilot program aims to help seniors stay in their homes longer by increasing independence and promoting health and safety through regular face-to-face visits and phone calls from trained Red Cross volunteers.
“Research shows that reducing social isolation among seniors living in rural communities will enhance their ability to continue to age at home,” said Cindy Fuchs, provincial director of the Red Cross in Saskatchewan. “The Red Cross will train volunteers to identify and flag physical and emotional risks in clients and ensure that assistance is offered.”
The Red Cross anticipates that each senior would receive one phone call and one visit every other week for a total of 26 calls and 26 in-person visits per year.
“During their visit, and depending on their interests, the pair may chat, play a game, do a craft or discuss the news,” said Fuchs. “It’s so important for them to hear a friendly voice and receive visits from a fellow community member with whom they can connect and share events in their lives.”
“We are excited to partner with the Red Cross to support seniors in rural communities through the Friendly Visiting pilot program,” said Darrell Jones, President and CEO of SecurTek. “We are proud to support programs that increase the quality of life for seniors in our province.”
Along with SecurTek, the Red Cross developed the program with seniors and the community, including consulting the Sunrise Health District (Home Care). The Red Cross also partnered with a university researcher who conducted a preliminary research project within Sunrise Health Region that informed the development of the program.
The Red Cross expects to evaluate the project within three years and secure full program funding to launch the program province-wide.
A call out for volunteers will occur in June, with the program set to launch in Yorkton in September.
For more information or to arrange interviews:
Canadian Red Cross Media Line – Saskatchewan
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