Thursday June 16, 2016 


Seniors News

Four Steps to Age-Friendly

Harrison Hot Springs gets special designation, Handy Dart expansion

BC Gov't Caucus


Leo Facio (L), Harrison Hot Springs mayor and Laurie Throness, Chilliwack-Hope MLA, hold a map of the new Harrison Hot Springs.


elping seniors stay active and engaged has earned Harrison Hot Springs Age-friendly BC Recognition.

Harrison Hot Springs will receive a letter of congratulations, Age-friendly BC Recognition poster and $1,000 to create a legacy project or celebration.

“When a community’s focus is on making age-friendly improvements, it makes a big difference in helping seniors stay healthy and independent,” said Health Minister Terry Lake. “Harrison Hot Springs is a perfect example of the work that is ongoing across the province to make communities safer, more accessible and inclusive for older residents.”

The Age-friendly BC recognition program acknowledges local governments that have taken four steps to become age-friendly, including establishing an age-friendly advisory or steering committee; passing a local council or district board resolution to support age-friendly activities; conducting an age-friendly assessment; and, developing and publishing an age-friendly action plan.

Harrison Hot Springs will make improvements to sidewalks so seniors can walk two-by-two, with a walker or cane. It will also make its municipal buildings more accessible by adding ramps and handrails.

“The work that will be done in Harrison Hot Springs to help make sure seniors have a chance to share their experiences and feel even more a part of the community is welcome news,” said Laurie Throness, Chilliwack-Hope MLA. “Planned upgrades to sidewalks and municipal buildings will make the community even more accessible.”

“A pedestrian-friendly environment creates the kind of vibrant residential community that benefits seniors and families alike,” said Leo Facio, Harrison Hot Springs mayor. “Our Age-friendly committee continues to work on initiatives to the make the village of Harrison Hot Springs the most inclusive community possible.”

“It’s important to recognize planning efforts made by communities that take seniors into consideration,” said Parliamentary Secretary for Seniors Darryl Plecas. “Whether it’s making a building easier to access, or something as simple as growing a garden, taking steps to support seniors helps them stay connected to their communities and remain active.”

Pitt Meadows is also being honoured, bringing to the total number of B.C. municipalities that have received Age-friendly BC Recognition since 2012 to 38.

The Age-friendly BC Recognition program is a partnership between the BC Healthy Communities Society and the Ministry of Health.

Learn More:

For more information on Age-Friendly BC Recognition, visit:


Better at Home Care Even Better  

Funds help maintain independence

BC Gov't Caucus


hilliwack-Hope MLA Laurie Throness is applauding the provincial government's decision to extend funding for the Better at Home program to aid seniors' independence in their homes and communities.

"The services offered through this program make a purposeful difference in the lives of seniors in the Fraser Valley. For many it's a vital support in maintaining their independence," said Throness. "I'm thankful that funding for the Better at Home is being renewed and seniors will continue to receive supports from local volunteers and contractors."

Health Minister Terry Lake has announced the provincial government will provide $5 million this year to the United Way of the Lower Mainland to administer the program, which helps seniors with day-to-day tasks so that they can continue to live in their own homes and remain connected to their communities.

Locally, Chilliwack Community Services is the provider of Better at Home services and partners with Agassiz-Harrison Community Services. Services currently provided by the organization are transportation to appointments, minor home repairs, light housekeeping and friendly visiting - providing companionship to seniors.

"As the coordinator of this program for the past two years, I have seen the positive effects Better at Home has had on seniors' lives," said Sarah Woelders from Chilliwack Community Services. "Some seniors need a friendly visit to help them get socially connected, others need a housekeeper to help preserve their mobility. Whatever the case may be, Chilliwack Better at Home is helping them maintain their independence, while staying at home longer."

Chilliwack Community Services is currently seeking volunteers for its Friendly Visitor program. Information is available on Chilliwack Community Services' website or by calling 604-393-3251 ext. 240.

Better at Home services are provided at the community level by local non-profit agencies in 67 program sites throughout British Columbia. Services are provided by volunteers and paid contractors.

Including this year's allotment, $31 million has been provided by the provincial government to the program since 2012.



Better handyDART service  

Funds help improve service in 2017

BC Gov't Caucus

hilliwack will see expanded handyDART service hours that will benefit seniors and persons with disabilities, thanks to funding earmarked by the province and the City of Chilliwack.

Chilliwack will receive an extra 800 hours of handyDART service annually, starting in 2017.

“handyDART is an important service for people who cannot use conventional transit and we’re providing more funding to BC Transit to help reduce the number of trip denials and increase the number of handyDART service hours,” said John Martin, MLA for Chilliwack on behalf of Todd Stone, Minister of Transportation and Infrastructure. “We are committed to working with BC Transit and local communities to ensure that people are getting the transit services they need to get around town, including handyDART.”

Chilliwack is the second B.C. community to cost share with the province this year for expanded handyDART services. Many senior citizens in the community who have mobility issues use handyDART, and this investment will provide 800 more hours of service to them, to better integrate them with their community, and help them stay connected with family and friends.

“As more communities sign on for expanded handyDART services, more British Columbians will have access to the services they need,” said MLA for Chilliwack-Hope, Laurie Throness. “Glad to see that Chilliwack understands the importance of handyDART to so many of their residents.”

“The handyDART service is an important part of many residents’ lives here in Chilliwack because it allows them to experience everything the city has to offer from doing their day-to-day business to participating in community events,” said Mayor Sharon Gaetz. “By providing more handyDART service hours, we are providing a better quality of life for people with mobility issues.”

The province has increased funding for BC Transit by $12.7 million and will now be providing $324 million in operating contributions over the next three years. This funding will help municipalities throughout B.C. increase their transit services, including expanding door-to-door handyDART services in targeted communities, adding an extra 8,000 hours of handyDART services each year.

This investment aligns with Accessibility 2024 – the B.C. government’s 10-year action plan unveiled in 2014 which lists cross-government commitments that will help improve accessibility in B.C. for people with disabilities. Accessibility 2024 lays the roadmap for making B.C. the most progressive province in Canada for people with disabilities by 2024.

handyDART is an accessible, door-to-door transit service for people with permanent or temporary disabilities that prevent them from using fixed-route transit. The driver of the fully accessible handyDART vehicle picks the customer up at their home and takes them right to the door of their destination.

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