Volunteers needed to interview Burnaby seniors

If spending an hour or so with a senior is something of interest, then the Office of the Seniors Advocate wants to hear from you.

B.C.’s seniors’ advocate, Isobel Mackenzie, is looking for more volunteer interviewers for the home-care survey her organization launched last summer.

The questionnaire is for seniors living in long-term care homes across the province, including Burnaby. In total, there are 27,000 seniors living in more than 300 residential care facilities. The 80 or so questions touch on privacy, food, safety and security, comfort, respect and responsive staff, personal relationships, medications and activities in the home. “The big goal of the project is to make sure the residents are living a meaningful life,” said the office’s Sara Parmar, noting the survey is the first of its kind in Canada.

Volunteers conduct the survey in person after receiving a one-day training session. The commitment is at least 30 hours over six to eight weeks, she noted.“The flexibility is really good. That’s what our volunteers really like,” she said. “Some people do three or four hours a week; some people do more than that.” Parmar added participants must get a criminal record check and the flu shot if they haven’t already done so. “They can apply online, and once they do that, we do a phone interview,” she said.

Burnaby, in particular, has “very few” volunteers, according to Parmar, who said Willingdon Care Centre and George Derby are in the midst of doing the survey, while Carleton Gardens Centre, Normanna and Dania Home have yet to start the process.Parmar couldn’t get into what kind of responses her office has received so far, but said that information will be forthcoming in a few months. Staff want to wrap up the survey by March and table recommendations to the provincial government shortly after.

(Originally posted by Tereza Verenca of Burnaby Now on January 19th, 2017)

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