Siobhan O’Connor, Taryn Kelher, and Deborah Hogan. (Contributed by Laura Stovel)

Siobhan O’Connor, Taryn Kelher, and Deborah Hogan. (Contributed by Laura Stovel)

Revelstoke Senior Life: Helping seniors stay at home

As seen in the Revelstoke Senior Life Newsletter

Laura Stovel

Revelstoke Senior Life

This article is part of the Revelstoke Senior Life Newsletter, printed monthly in the Revelstoke Review in collaboration with the Community Response Network.

A group of seniors gather on comfortable couches at the Community Connections outreach building on Second Street West.

“These are delicious. You must try one,” Myrtle said, pointing at one of the treats on the coffee table.

A Community Connections staff member hands me a coffee and I settle in as this group of Thursday coffee hour regulars discuss their July outing to Three Valley Gap and plan their August adventure: a trip up the gondola at Revelstoke Mountain Resort and, for those interested, a ride down on the Pipe Mountain Coaster.

“Not me!” said one senior. “I’m going to do it,” said another.

These weekly coffee hours and outings are just two of many activities and supports offered by Deborah Hogan, coordinator of the Better at Home Program.

The seniors are happy to tell me how important this program is to them.

“Without Deborah my world would fall apart,” Myrtle said. “Because whenever I need anything, she’s right there. I just mention something to her and I get it. And any ride that I need she’s right there at the door.”

“I advertise it as much as I can because not many people are aware of how much they do,” added Gerti. I keep telling people, if you need anybody to go shopping, phone Deborah. She’ll take you. She picks me up and takes me to different appointments and she does it at times when she’s not even working. That’s how good-hearted she is.”

Indeed, the provincially-funded Better at Home program offers a wide range of services for seniors aged 65 and older in communities across the province. The goal is to help seniors remain independent at home by providing non-medical supports.

“That can look very different for each senior,” Hogan explained. “Our most popular service is friendly visiting, where somebody visits once a week and does an activity of the senior’s choice. That helps with isolation and companionship.”

Light housekeeping is also in great demand.

“Sometimes Homecare staff won’t go into a senior’s home if it’s not safe because of cleaning standards. So this program really helps some seniors receive medical supports because they get weekly cleans. And it’s not that the senior doesn’t want to do it. Sometimes they can’t do it for mobility or medical reasons,” Hogan said.

Other services include lawn care, snow removal, taking people grocery shopping and driving them around town for medical and non-medical support.

“Say somebody just wants to go for coffee with their friend. That’s just as important to me as a medical appointment and so I schedule that in,” Hogan said, adding that transportation does not include out-of-town appointments.

Some people ask for minor home repairs. “There isn’t a huge budget for that,” Hogan said. “But I have a great volunteer who’s quite handy and very helpful.”

Recently he helped install an air conditioning unit for a senior. Volunteers like this are important to the program. With 50 active senior participants, the 13 volunteers are really appreciated.

This summer, Better at Home coordinated a community workshop on emergency preparedness. “The goal of the workshop was to educate people about what to do in a weather emergency, how to be prepared, what that looks like,” Hogan said.

This was followed up by an event that helped seniors prepare or receive grab-and-go kits. Twenty-five seniors received well-equipped backpacks, including a wind-up radio and flashlight, a first aid kit and other necessary items.

Additional packs were dropped off to those who could not attend. “I would like people to know that we’re here to support them and to not be stuck,” Hogan said. “There’s nothing worse than feeling stuck. So give me a call and I’ll do my best to help with what you need. I can’t help with everything but asking for help is better than not doing it.”

For information about the Better at Home program or to volunteer or donate, please call Deborah Hogan at 250-814-6131 or e-mail her at

READ MORE: Revelstoke Senior Life: Battling the black dogs by writing


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