When Stan Fuller checked out a book sale at the Northgate Lions Recreation Centre, it changed his life. He now has free snow shoveling, small income support, and a possible subsidy that will further reign in his rent expenditure.
“I heard about the centre in a newspaper ad about a book sale,” recalled Fuller, who lives in northeast Edmonton. “There was a notice there about assistance for seniors.”
He chatted with the centre’s staff and thought nothing more of it. Then, one day he was surprised to see a snow shoveling crew clearing his walk.
“Turns out the [worker] at the seniors centre had put my name in. She thought, ‘this is a candidate’, and they arranged it,” he said.
Since then, a snow shoveling crew has been a regular presence at Fuller’s home. At their last visit, they even cleared snow off the back deck and took away the garbage.
It’s a testament to the quality and range of services provided by North Edmonton Seniors Association (NESA), operating out of Northgate Lions Recreation Centre. One of NESA’s founding principles is to help seniors age safely in their home community, which they accomplish through home supports and outreach programs.
“Home supports is a referral program to support seniors in remaining in their homes longer, safely, and independently,” explained Stacey Flanagan, home supports co-ordinator. “We provide referrals to service providers for snow removal, yard maintenance, housekeeping, home repairs, and maintenance, as well as personal services and moving help.”
Repair and maintenance trades include plumbing, electrical, and furnace repair. Service providers are vetted, and Flanagan welcomes them to call if they want to be put on the referrals list. Her staff also try to save spots on the free shovelling list, provided for seniors with very low incomes.
Since his initial contact with home supports staff, Fuller has had his income topped up through a provincial seniors benefit program. Now, he’s completing forms for a program with Capital Region Housing that helps low income earners bring their rent to no more than one third of their income.
Another client, a widowed woman who lives alone, was given three referrals for snow removal. The provider she chose noticed she didn’t have a working doorbell, so he installed one that same day. On another occasion, it snowed while she was away and her gate was locked.
“She told me the service provider jumped her back gate to shovel. Now that is . . . obviously a man who truly cares about seniors,” said Flanagan.
The home supports program is a gateway to NESA’s outreach services, which helps with tasks like navigating the health-care system, completing forms, and accessing grief support.
NESA is Edmonton’s largest seniors organization, offering over 600 programs. Membership is open to anyone, but those aged 55 plus pay half the fee. The fee is waived for those 85 plus.
NORTH EDMONTON SENIORS ASSOCIATION
7524 139 Avenue
Home supports: 780.496.6969 or [email protected].
Featured Image: North Edmonton Seniors Association has helped Stan Fuller (pictured) make his life a little easier. | Rebecca Lippiatt