The North Okanagan Hospice Society is kick-starting a volunteer program that will help senior citizens stay at home for as long as possible.
Announced Friday, the Nav-CARE program will use specially trained volunteers to make regular visits to the homes of seniors living with serious illnesses. The volunteers are trained to assess quality of life in the home and assist with getting access to community resources.
“Our compassionate Nav-CARE volunteers aspire to reach out and make a difference in the lives of seniors. In doing so, volunteers make the North Okanagan a better place to live and age,” said Ruth Edwards, Executive Director of NOHS.
“North Okanagan Hospice Society has strong roots in our community. It is a pleasure to be involved with a program that gives back to our citizens who are still at home.”
The plan is to offer free palliative care and reduce the isolation that older adults frequently experience as they transition into later life. The program focuses on folks with quality of life concerns such as loneliness, recent losses, mobility challenges or difficulty finding resources within the community.
Nav-CARE is the result of a three year research project with UBC Okanagan and the Interior Health Authority and is currently available in nine Canadian communities.
The research included a year-long pilot with seven volunteers who conducted visits with 18 clients every two to three weeks. Clients and family rated the service as highly important to their care because of how the volunteer helped to make the difficult experiences of aging and advanced chronic illness more livable – although sustainability was expressed as a concern by both clients and volunteers.
One in five seniors say they experience emotional distress and have difficulty coping on a daily basis, according to a Canadian Institute for Health analysis of a 2016 Commonwealth Fund survey.
The North Okanagan Hospice Society is a registered charity that operates a 12-bed palliative care facility in Vernon.
For more information on Nav-CARE, visit www.nav-care.ca. To learn about the North Okanagan Hospice Society’s program, contact Clara Dyck at 250-503-1800, Ext 104, or email email@example.com
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