By Laura Keil

As Santa makes his list and checks it twice, a local seniors worker is hoping to make her own list of good citizens ready to help Robson Valley seniors in need.

Shae Carlson, Seniors Program Supervisor at Robson Valley Community Services, frequently gets calls from seniors who need extra help. 

“It’s things that people need a little bit of assistance with like housekeeping or yard work to keep them in the community.”

Other services include friendly visiting, transportation, grocery delivery.

“What we could really use help with is, when I get a call saying I have a senior who can’t leave their house, to be able to call somebody and say, ‘Hey can you pick up these groceries?’ Or ‘This person has expressed they are feeling pretty lonely and they’re isolated, they’d love a phone call once a week or could you go play cards with them?'”

She said the pandemic had an incredibly negative impact on the mental and physical well-being of our seniors.

“Although we’re on the other side of that, we haven’t seen much of a rebound in terms of the socialization and recreation people were doing before.”

Robson Valley Community Services puts on social, recreational and educational programming for seniors across the Robson Valley and also operates the Better at Home program which offers non-medical support to low-income seniors. It is different from Home Support, which is operated through Northern Health. 

Carlson has noticed that it’s difficult for some seniors to even access her own seniors programming. She said some of the barriers for seniors include being concerned about catching COVID-19, or their families having moved during COVID and so they are more isolated. As winter emerges, it’s also harder for seniors to leave their homes, particularly if they don’t drive.

“There’s loneliness and there’s also folks who just need a little hand,” she said. 

She wants potential volunteers to know that it doesn’t take much.

“Drop off groceries once a week, or just check in, or play a board game. It’s really easy and it doesn’t take much time, it’s rewarding and it makes a huge difference.”

She said it’s also flexible and can fit into different schedules. Anyone interested can contact Carlson toll free at 1-844-324-2004. Volunteers are needed across the valley.