Better at Home Meetup grows seniors’ expertise

happy participants On September 26-27, approximately 90 coordinators, assistants and managers attended the 4th Annual Better at Home Provincial Meetup at SFU Harbour Centre – the first meetup to be held in beautiful downtown Vancouver! Better at Home is a seniors program managed by United Way of the Lower Mainland and funded by the B.C. government. This year’s conference focussed on how to improve the seniors program both locally and provincially. Topics included how to create safe environments for seniors and elder abuse; building age-friendly and dementia-friendly communities; and how to enhance social connectedness amongst seniors.  The entire event was “tree”-themed – a growing forest, seeded with program-enriching ideas and strategies of our Better at Home network. Participants heard updates on Better at Home’s provincial projects including the Rural & Remote Pilot Project and the Provincial Integration Project. They also got a chance to brainstorm strategies and deliverables that will be turned into action plans. On Monday evening, guest presenter Jorge Amigo told a story of two cities on a fault line, and showed what a community can really do when it comes together. He serenaded the group with his ukulele, and shared a singalong to “Stand by Me.” SFU gerontologist Dr. Habib Chaudhury’s presentation “Neighbourhood-Built Environment and Active Aging” highlighted how the structure of a town or city can either welcome or alienate its own elderly, and how a mere park bench can bring comfort and unity to its residents. Better at Home has now formed a Provincial Reference Group that will act as a consultative body to the Better at Home program. Members are:

  • Heather Archer, Team Leader, BC Association of Community Response Networks, Interior Health
  • David Cheperdak, CEO, Broadmead Care, Victoria
  • Marcy Cohen, Policy Advocate, Raising the Profile Project
  • Sheryl Fisher-Rivers, Board Member, United Way of the Lower Mainland
  • Kathleen Jamieson, Chair, Health Committee, Committee of the Council of Senior Citizens of BC (COSCO)
  • Debbie McLachlan, Director, Home and Community Care, Ministry of Health, BC
  • Rebecca Morris, Manager, Advocacy & Education, Alzheimer Society of BC
  • Tim Rowe, Former Executive Lead, Northern Health Authority
  • Michelle Sandsmark, Program Coordinator, BC Healthy Communities Society
  • Dr. Joanie Sims-Gould, Assistant Professor, UBC, Centre for Hip Health and Mobility (CHHM)
  • Stephanie Williams, General Manager, Better Environmentally Sound Transportation (BEST)

  And from Better at Home:  

  • Camille J. Hannah, Program & Project Assistant, Better at Home
  • Precious Ile, Adminstrative Support, Better at Home
  • Kahir Lalji, Provincial Manager, Better at Home.  

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