Cowichan News Leader

Seniors facing drop in drop-in services

Pam Alcorn, Chair of Duncan Advisory Committee on Seniors Issues, speaks during a public meeting Monday. - Andrew Leong
Pam Alcorn, Chair of Duncan Advisory Committee on Seniors Issues, speaks during a public meeting Monday.
— image credit: Andrew Leong

Minding the gap.

That was the purpose of a meeting of minds on Monday at Duncan United Church: To identify a gap in services that had been provided to seniors and people with disabilities since the Seniors Resources Support Society closed its doors last May and federal cutbacks to Cowichan Independent Living.

The meeting was a joint effort between the Ranjana Basu, Chair of the Cowichan Seniors Network, and Pam Alcorn of the Duncan Advisory Committee on Seniors Issues, Social Planning, and Volunteer Cowichan.

Basu was happy with how well the meeting was attended and with the outcomes.

"It was an excellent meeting. We had about 40 people there. There was a combination of seniors and service providers and we covered a lot of territory. We went through what the Seniors Resources Support Society provided and where those services are happening elsewhere. Some are, some aren't."

Basu said one of the services they discussed was income tax help that is available in some places but not others. A group discussion revealed that there was a need for income tax help for seniors in Crofton, which might be available from the same service provider in Duncan.

"That kind of networking happened, which is great when you get people together to think about possible solutions."

One of the biggest losses the group identified was the drop-in option that SRSS used to offer at the location it shared with Volunteer Cowichan.

"People would just drop in and talk about whatever was really important in the moment around housing, abuse, home support, a whole range of issues that affects someone in their life and that drop-in is not available."

Basu said they don't know if these individuals have found another venue to drop in and talk through their concerns. Volunteer Cowichan offered some statistics comparing drop-ins to its facility before and after SRSS folded in May.

"There were 137 people who dropped-in to their facility in May. There were 22 people by November. It's a sign and we don't know where they are going. It's a huge loss there."

The next step for the group is to do more research into identifying and resolving gaps in services. Among these is what the impact will be to the community from the federal cuts to Cowichan Independent Living.

"Apparently, Cowichan Independent Living had their federal funding cut by 35% this past year. A hundred percent of their federal funding will eventually be lost. We needed more information so we really understand what the impact is going to be on our community."

Basu said they will compile the research each and provide a report to all who attended, with hard copies available at Volunteer Cowichan and other organizations.

Basu invites anyone who is interested in seniors issues and how to better serve them to add their names to the list of people receiving the report.

To join the conversation, email Ranjana Basu ranjana@familycaregiverssupport.org or Pam Alcorn, Duncan Advisory Committee on Seniors' Issues at pamination@shaw.ca.

 

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