Ser­vices for se­niors

Satel­lite of­fice opens in Spa­niard’s Bay

The Compass - - FRONT PAGE - BY LIL­LIAN SIM­MONS

Af­ter two years of per­sis­tent ef­fort, an in­for­ma­tion of­fice for older adults is now up and run­ning in Spa­niard’s Bay.

The Bac­calieu Trail Se­niors Re­source Satel­lite Of­fice is lo­cated in the Spa­niard’s Bay town hall (at the left side of the build­ing).

Cathy Klein­wort, Ad­vi­sory Com­mit­tee chair­woman, says the com­mit­tee re­ceived fund­ing from Ser­vices Canada to open the of­fice and be­gin the pi­lot project.

“On March 23 we be­gan the work of se­cur­ing in­for­ma­tion from dif­fer­ent gov­ern­ment ser­vices and al­ready we have a lot of brochures and we’ve got­ten a few calls,” Klein­wort said last week.

Marie Ryan, co­or­di­na­tor and Shel­ley Grant, of­fice as­sis­tant have been hired for a one-year term.

“We’re so for­tu­nate to have them,” Klein­wort said. “They work so well as a team and it takes a big load off my mind.”

Se­niors, or those con­cerned about se­niors, can call in with ques­tions about things like ac­cess­ing home sup­port ser­vices; where to get help with home re­pairs; prob­lems deal­ing with gov­ern­ment de­part­ments for pen­sions and in­come tax; or con­cerns about is­sues like trans- por­ta­tion or elder abuse. The toll free num­ber is 1-800-563-5599.

For the mo­ment the num­ber will con­nect di­rectly to the Se­niors Re­source Cen­tre in St. John’s and mes­sages will be re­layed to the Spa­niard’s Bay of­fice.

“Fol­low-up calls are made to en­sure the callers ob­tain the needed as­sis­tance,” Klein­wort said. “In time we will have vol­un­teer se­niors and peer ad­vo­cates an­swer­ing the in­for­ma­tion line. Se­niors who call in find it help­ful to talk to some­one who has had sim­i­lar life ex­pe­ri­ences. They of­fer a lis­ten­ing ear and pro­vide in­for­ma­tion and sup­port.

“Any­thing that comes in through this of­fice is con­fi­den­tial,” Klein­wort added.

Needs

In about five years, it’s es­ti­mated 50 per cent of the pop­u­la­tion on the Trin­ity Con­cep­tion re­gion will be se­nior cit­i­zens.

Klein­wort says in June 2006 an M-RON (Mariner Re­source Op­por­tu­ni­ties Net­work) sym­po­sium looked at the needs of the grow­ing pop­u­la­tion of se­niors in the area.

At that time Klein­wort was the se­nior sec­tor di­rec­tor with M-RON and is still with the board, but not in the same ca­pac­ity. She was also in­volved with com­mu­nity care pro­grams on the main­land be­fore mov­ing to Spa­niard’s Bay eight years ago.

“(M-RON) did a trans­porta­tion study in late 2007,” she said. “And, we dis­cov­ered trans­porta­tion isn’t needed be­cause se­niors are able to de­pend on their fam­ily, friends and neigh­bours.”

One per­ceived need to come out of the sym­po­sium was a pro­gram called Friendly Vis­it­ing.

“We want to get vol­un­teers to visit shut-ins, sit and have a cup of tea,” Ryan ex­plained. “The time is so long when you’re shut in.”

An­other goal is to set up a Re­as­sur­ance pro­gram.“That’s where we would get vol­un­teers to phone to check on se­niors who live alone,” said Klein­wort. “If we don’t get a call back within a cer­tain pe­riod then we get hold of the first name on that se­nior’s con­tact list, so some­one can check on them.”

The cen­tre is also in­volved in the Vial for Life pro­gram, which pro­vides vi­tal in­for­ma­tion to emer­gency re­spon­ders if a se­nior is un­able to com­mu­ni­cate with medics.

Pi­lot

The satel­lite of­fice isn’t af­fil­i­ated with M-RON, Klein­wort pointed out.

“We’re un­der the um­brella of the Se­niors Re­source Cen­tre for New­found­land and Labrador (St. John’s). The satel­lite is a pi­lot project.”

A part of that pi­lot project will be draft­ing up a set of guide­lines for ac­cess by other ar­eas of the prov­ince that might want to set up sim­i­lar satel­lite offices.

Ryan says once the ba­sics, like gath­er­ing in­for­ma­tion and set­ting up data­bases are taken care of, the cen­tre will start see­ing some re­sults.

“We’ve had ex­cel­lent re­sponse from mu­nic­i­pal­i­ties, se­niors clubs, churches; they can’t wait for us to start — the help that’s pour­ing in is un­be­liev­able,” she said.

Ryan plans to visit all se­niors clubs, Le­gions and other or­ga­ni­za­tions in Trin­ity and Con­cep­tion Bays to de­ter­mine the needs and wants of older adults in the whole area.

She’s al­ready paid a visit to one of the se­niors com­plexes.

“They made me feel very wel- comed. They think it’s about time the area of­fered such ser­vices,” she said.

Even­tu­ally, Ryan said, an in­for­ma­tion di­rec­tory will be com­piled con­tain­ing web­sites, email ad­dresses and tele­phone num­bers of ser­vices for se­niors.

“We’ll be looking for ser­vices avail­able to se­niors in their area; like in­for­ma­tion about old age pen­sion, or some­one to mow the lawn — from ba­sic ser­vices up, and per­tain­ing specif­i­cally to each com­mu­nity,” said Ryan. “For now our goal is to find out what pro­grams se­niors here want.”

Klein­wort noted the satel­lite of­fice has part­nered with Is­land Har­bour 50 Plus Club in Heart’s De­light-Is­ling­ton and Princess Sheila Se­niors in Carbonear.

“It’s taken three years since the con­cep­tion and two years to get to this point — and we’re so ex­cited about it,” she con­cluded.

The of­fi­cial open­ing will take place June 5 from 2 to 4 p.m. at the Spa­niard’s Bay Recre­ation Cen­tre, with a rib­bon cut­ting at the satel­lite of­fice.

Any­one wish­ing to con­tact the of­fice di­rectly can call 786INFO (4630) or email: se­niorsinfo@gmail.com.

Or, for more in­for­ma­tion visit the web­site at: www.se­niorsre­source.ca.

Lil­lian Sim­mons/The Com­pass

NOW OPEN - Cathy Klein­wort seated, and Marie Ryan, go over some re­source ma­te­rial at the new Bac­calieu Trail Se­niors Re­source Cen­tre Satel­lite of­fice in Spa­niard’s Bay. It’s es­ti­mated that in five years about 50 per cent of the area’s pop­u­la­tion will be se­niors.

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