The Helping Hands program, run by Volunteer Smithers, has been running for over a year now, with about two dozen people taking part. The program matches volunteers with seniors that need help with mowing lawns or shovelling snow.
“We match up volunteers with seniors on a one to one basis, and it’s mostly outdoors,” said program coordinator Andrea Hikisch. “We found that there was a real gap with seniors that wanted to stay at home, but couldn’t keep up with some of the duties in their house.”
Seniors or people with disabilities within Telkwa or Smithers town limits are eligible to sign up for the free program, and there are currently 17 seniors taking part, with the help of 10 volunteers. For volunteers who like to spend time outdoors, the program is a perfect fit. It also provides a social connection once a week or so for seniors.
“I think it’s been rewarding for both the volunteers and the seniors,” said Hikisch.
The program helps prevent injuries for seniors, and also allows them to remain more independent in their own homes.
“By having someone take over the lawn care or the snow removal it helps them stay at home longer,” she said.
Although the program is designed for outdoor jobs, there is a small waiting list of seniors looking for help inside the home, such as light house work and laundry. Hikisch said there is also a handyman that completes odd jobs for most of the seniors in the program, although usually it’s preferred to have volunteers and seniors matched one to one.
Hikisch said new members are welcome to sign up for the Helping Hands program at any time.
“If seniors need help, we’re more than open to taking their calls, and we’re always looking for volunteers,” she said.
To sign up or for more information, call Hikisch at 250-847-9515, or email firstname.lastname@example.org.