According to Seniors’ Community Connector Jada Onigbinde, seniors are especially susceptible to isolation and injuries from trips and falls if they have lost a spouse, live on a low income, or are inactive.
“In talking to doctors, we found out that some seniors hadn’t been to appointments for six months because they were scared to leave their homes due to being frail. They also didn’t want to use public transportation at the risk of exposure to COVID. So, knowing that we could arrange transportation for them at a minimal cost was such a relief,” Jada said.
The Social Prescribing Program has been able to support seniors who can’t cook or afford to meet their nutritional needs by working with Archway’s Meals on Wheels program. They also work in conjunction with the Archway Better at Home program, by utilizing housekeeping, grocery shopping, and medical transportation services.
Vera Stryjak and her 92-year-old mother, Helen Serafimova, are some of the clients that have benefitted from the program’s support. Stryjak lives in Seattle and pre-pandemic regularly crossed the border to assist her mother with a variety of essential tasks as she advanced in age.
“I tried to get across the border but was denied entry. Emotionally drained and worried, I did a Google search for ‘help’, and came across the Archway homepage,’ Stryjak said.
“I called and I explained my problems and after a brief hold, an angel answered in the form of Jada! With her knowledge of the resources available, combined with her kindness and a passion to help, we were able to move mountains. We arranged a zoom meeting with my mother’s orthopedic surgeon in Vancouver, my mother lives in Abbotsford, and me in Seattle.”
Jada also arranged all transportation needs, including for the x-rays before the meeting, plus transportation to Vancouver for injections for Serafimova’s arthritic knee to allow her to walk independently. Later transportation for a COVID vaccine appointment was coordinated.
“I am deeply thankful to her, and my mother is beside herself in disbelief at what we accomplished which would have been zero if it was not for Jada’s help,” Stryjak said.
Jada shares that the program has been well received. They’ve been able to reach the seniors through talking to hospitals, seniors clinics, places of faith, multi-cultural food suppliers, and retirement homes along with family doctors.
She noted that many seniors and their families seem to be surprised that such a program exists, and they are amazed that someone cares and wants to help them, for free.
The program is run by the Senior Services department of Archway Community Services and funded by Fraser Health and the United Way of the Lower Mainland.
In addition to referrals to other Archway programs or community resources, the Archway Social Prescribing Program offers weekly check-in calls. This offers isolated seniors a chance for a conversation and serves to monitor emerging issues.
“Our phone call check-ins have gotten longer because they need that social human interaction,” shared Jada.
To access the social prescribing program, please ask your family doctor for a referral or call the Social Prescribing Program for Seniors directly at 604-743-0393. You can learn more at Archway.ca/SPP