Thanks to funding from the federal government’s New Horizons for Seniors Program, the United Way of Chatham-Kent has issued grants to five local agencies.
These non-profit community service organizations met all requirements for funding which included meeting the immediate and urgent needs of seniors across Chatham-Kent.
The focus is on vulnerable citizens aged 55 and up impacted by the COVID-19 pandemic, including but not limited to: low income individuals; seniors who are members of a minority group; and/or those living in rural settings; as well as caregivers.
Each organization received $10,000 in funding. The federal program provided $9,808 of the $10,000 total, while the Chatham-Kent COVID-19 Community Response Fund through ckgives.ca topped each up by $192, according to United Way officials.
Steve Pratt, executive director of the United Way of Chatham-Kent, said teamwork is important in helping our seniors.
“When we collectively work together, we can ensure that there are services out there to help people in this community and to prevent duplication or fracturing of existing supports,” he said in a media release. “By working together, we can ensure that forgotten areas in our community are not left behind and we are better prepared for the community’s rapidly emerging needs.”
Funds for the Victorian Order of Nurses, Erie St. Clair, will be used to support local seniors through the expansion of Virtual Visiting, a service which will allow nurses to chart electronically, provide seamless care, and reach patients in remote areas; while reducing the risk of infection by maintaining a safe environment for patients and nurses, according to United Way officials.
Nurses will be able to communicate instantly with their patients and other service providers to enhance the patient care.
The Canadian Cancer Society will use the funds to expand the capacity of their Cancer Information Helpline and connect more individuals with trained mentors through their “virtual” peer match program.
The Canadian Cancer Society will also be using the funds to reduce anxiety experienced by Chatham-Kent residents who have cancer, provide critical digital connections through their online community, and equip their volunteers, staff members and the community with the most accurate information about COVID-19 and cancer.
For the Canadian National Institute for the Blind (CNIB), funds will be used to support their established virtual programming, which reduces the impact of isolation for seniors with sight loss, and adapted their Vision Mate program to provide one-on-one support; whether over the phone, or in-person to assisted with errands such as grocery shopping or picking up prescriptions.
Family Service Kent will use the money to offer free counselling sessions for seniors.
With this support, Family Service Kent will be able to reach the seniors in Chatham-Kent, who may be struggling, isolated and may have limited supports available to them.
The funds will also provide support through written mental health materials and items within the grocery deliveries that seniors are receiving.
And the Active Lifestyle Centre will utilize the grant money to offer security check-in phone calls to residences, and provide outreach to seniors with the Greeting Card program, and delivery of comfort bags stocked with masks, hand sanitizers, a COVID handbook, activities and more.
The funding will also allow the ALC to continue making personal protective equipment (PPE) which they are donating locally and distributing to seniors, and providing support to front line workers in retirement homes.