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FCSS providing in-home support for Bonnyville-area seniors

Bonnyville FCSS receives grant to hire three home support workers
FCSS grant
Thanks to a $50,000 grant, the Bonnyville and District FCSS is hiring three in-home support workers for seniors who need assistance. File photo.

BONNYVILLE – Seniors in the Bonnyville-area can receive a helping hand at home if they need it.

The Bonnyville and District FCSS received $50,000 from the United Way Centraide Canada through the Emergency Community Support fund to hire in-home support for older adults.

“I’ve always wanted (this program) in the Bonnyville and District FCSS parameters, just because it’s a needed service because seniors can’t always afford the housekeeping costs that private individuals or companies charge,” explained Diahann Polege-Aulotte, Bonnyville FCSS community programmer, adding that seniors often come to them to ask for recommendations.

“We’re not allowed to give recommendations on any type of service, so our hands are kind of tied on that. Now with the pandemic going on, there are potentially seniors or older adults out there that their family aren’t wanting, or able to, go and do the cleaning services for their loved ones because they’re under self-isolation. To have this program where we would have vetted individuals to do cleaning with safety precautions being taken at every step, it would best support the older adults and the families involved.”

Polege-Aulotte said they’re currently on the hunt for three workers to fill these positions, with the hope of having two work within the MD of Bonnyville and one stay in the town.

Light cleaning will be offered for those who may need a bit of assistance.

“We’re not going to be shampooing carpets. We’re going to be doing just light stuff, so that’s some dishes, sweeping, mopping of the floors, cleaning the washroom, and basic light housekeeping. We’re not going to be washing walls or doing that deep cleaning that might be requested,” stressed Polege-Aulotte.

But the job won’t just focus on cleaning.

“We also have a friendly visitor component in it,” she continued. “With that, some of the hours could just be visiting with some isolated seniors that could be living in continuing care centres because with self-isolation, families are restricted in what they’re able to do and we would be following all the safety precautions that were put in by the continuing care centres.”

The grant officially began at the beginning of July and will run until March 2021. All of the costs associated with the in-home support worker will be covered through the funding.

“Historically, for people who do in-home support there’s a cost or fee for the individual using it,” noted Polege-Aulotte. “Right now there will not be one. It will run as a pilot project to see if it’s needed and utilized. Probably in early winter we’ll look at it again to see if this is something that we can write another grant to cover the cost or if the Bonnyville and District FCSS would continue the service on, but that’s a wait and see thing.”

There currently isn’t a limit for how many seniors can sign up for the program and anyone interested can call the Bonnyville FCSS at 780-826-2120.

Robynne Henry, Bonnyville Nouvelle