Federal government funds Langley volunteer outreach program

Volunteers are being sought for a new social networking program to help with seniors isolation.

Local isolated or ask-risk seniors may soon have a chance to be picked up at home and dropped off for lunch at Lanlgey Lodge as part of a new program to reduce social isolation.

The federal government has announced funding so Langley Lodge can develop a volunteer-driven seniors peer outreach program. A formal presentation will be made at the lodge’s Canada Day concert on June 27.

Funded through the federal New Horizons for Seniors Program, the peer outreach program is intended to help socially isolated and at-risk seniors in Langley. They must be referred to the program.

Isolated seniors include those who live alone and do not have family or friends nearby, and who have physical, cognitive or financial challenges which limit their ability to participate in local community activities where seniors meet for social or recreation purposes.

“The Seniors Peer Outreach program is an extension of the socialization and recreational work that we already offer to our residents. Now, more seniors who are living in surrounding neighborhoods and who would like to have a regular visit, or attend a regular lunch and social outing at Langley Lodge, will have that opportunity,” said Debra Hauptman, the lodge’s CEO.

Volunteer recruitment is underway through the new Langley Volunteer Bureau, local media and the Langley Lodge Volunteer webpage.

The program will accept applications from people who are 55 and older. Organizers would encourage those with health care or social services backgrounds and effective communication skills to join. Volunteers are asked to give a minimum of three hours each week.

“There is strong evidence that maintaining social networks and having regular activity, do improve our health, and ability to age-in-place, and this is a goal of our program,” said Lisa Samms-Maxwell, director of Care at the lodge.

Governments are delivering more services at home to allow seniors to age in place, but certain life changes can result in increased social isolation, including the death of a spouse, the loss of a driver’s licence or just geographic location.

“The presence of a strong and accepting peer group is an important aspect of life at every stage, and I am confident the Seniors Peer Outreach program will be a valuable initiative to improve the quality of life for seniors living in isolation,” said Cloverdale-Langley City MP John Aldag.

People can learn about the program at langleylodge.org or the Langley Volunteer Bureau (langleyvolunteers.ca). They can also call 604-530-2305 and ask for the outreach program.

To make a referral to the program, people can go online to langleylodge.org or 604-530-2305.

People can also use social media to learn more (www.facebook.com/langleylodge, www.twitter.com/langleylodge or the hashtag #seniorshelpseniors).