Seniors Advocate seeking volunteers

B.C.’s Seniors Advocate is continuing to recruit volunteers for a survey of 27,000 seniors care facilities

B.C.’s Seniors Advocate is continuing to recruit volunteers for a survey of 27,000 seniors living in 300 residential care facilities across BC.

“This is the first time in this province that we have had volunteers sit face to face with some of our most vulnerable seniors on such a large scale and the feedback we’re receiving from both volunteers and seniors themselves is very positive,” said Seniors Advocate Isobel Mackenzie.

More than 250 volunteers have signed up to be part of the Office of the Seniors Advocate’s residential care survey team, and there are still a range of volunteer opportunities available with the project for individuals from diverse professional backgrounds, ages and ethnicities.

This is the first time in the province feedback from seniors in residential care settings has been comprehensively collected.

“The stories I’m hearing from seniors so far are so interesting,” said volunteer Kitty Yan. “The ability to engage in conversations with residents is like meeting with old friends. The process has been very rewarding.”

Volunteers are asking residents a range of questions from the quality of food, to how they view care staff, with the goal of gauging resident satisfaction and providing a roadmap for improvements to quality of care.

“We should all get involved and work together to help improve the quality and condition of our long-term care facilities,” said Amanpreet Powar. “Our family members and friends may one day require the support provided in these facilities. The most important thing I took away from the training was a new-found awareness of the living conditions in a long-term care facility. I used to think of the facility as a hospital, but now I understand that it is also a home for the residents,” added Powar.

Feedback from seniors has been diverse, however a common emerging theme is the impact of having their voices heard. “A resident came to me and explained to me how a person had come to her and asked her questions for a long time,” said Norma Sorensen, Manager at Mt. Tolmie Care Home. “The resident recounted how they just sat together and the person listened to her and she was just thrilled. As a manager I felt sad that being listened to was such a novelty for the resident.”

To volunteer for the Office of the Seniors Advocate’s residential care survey, visit www.surveybcseniors.org Volunteers can apply online or by calling the Office of the Seniors Advocate office at 1-877-952-3181.