Community Action for Seniors' Independence (CASI): Pilot Program Reports

Pilot communities share successes and challenges at February meeting

Seniors in the Renfrew-Collingwood neighbourhood of Vancouver are getting fit, and connecting with each other and with other services in the community, through the Community Action for Seniors’ Independence (CASI) walking club.

In Osoyoos, where public transportation is limited, older residents can now get a lift to doctors’ and other appointments in the CASI van, or with a volunteer driver.

In Dawson Creek, members of the Junior A hockey team are helping CASI clients cope with winter by providing snow-shovelling services.

In the Newton area of Surrey, CASI program staff members are busy recruiting volunteers who speak a variety of languages to reach out to immigrant seniors and let them know about available supports in this multicultural community.

And in Maple Ridge, where CASI services have been available the longest, seniors are accessing transportation, housekeeping and handyman services.

These are just a few of the stories and successes shared by CASI program coordinators and other community representatives while meeting at the United Way of the Lower Mainland offices in Burnaby on February 3, 2011.

CASI is a partnership project between the Government of British Columbia and the United Way of the Lower Mainland. CASI is focused on developing and delivering non-medical home support programs to enable seniors age 65 and older to live independently in their homes as long as possible. CASI pilot programs are currently underway in five B.C. communities— Maple Ridge, Dawson Creek, Vancouver (Renfrew-Collingwood), Surrey (Newton) and Osoyoos.

The Burnaby meeting brought together representatives from the pilot communities for the first time since CASI services were launched in all five pilot communities last summer and fall.

At the meeting, representatives from all the lead agencies responsible for providing CASI services had an opportunity to compare notes about their different programs, and talk about their experiences and challenges in setting up services to support seniors’ independence in their communities.

All of the CASI pilots offer seniors access to a range of support services, such as transportation, housekeeping, home repair, yard maintenance, friendly visiting, and information and referral. These services may be delivered by paid staff, contractors or volunteers, and clients are generally charged a fee, based on ability to pay.

At the same time, each of the pilots is unique, focused on the service priorities identified by seniors and the size and circumstances of each community. For example, Renfrew- Collingwood is the only pilot to offer a walking club; and Surrey is planning to introduce a skills bank that will enable seniors to volunteer their services to other seniors in exchange for services they need.

One important point the representatives agreed is true of all the pilot communities—CASI is helping to meet an important service need for seniors in their communities.

For more information about CASI services in the five pilot communities and how to access those services, please contact:

Maple Ridge – 604 467-6911, extension 232
Dawson Creek – 250 782-1138, extension 228
Surrey (Newton) – 604 507-2266
Vancouver (Renfrew-Collingwood) – 604 435-0375
Osoyoos – 250 495-6925