The Red Cross says it hopes to double the number of seniors it supports through a new program by the end of the year.
The Community Check-In program has over 50 clients, but officials are trying to increase that total.
A call for proposals has been officially announced for community groups who are looking to start similar programs — to support seniors — with the help of $75 million, which was set aside in the 2018 federal budget.
The funding was announced for the Healthy Seniors Pilot Project in June.
New Brunswick Red Cross officials, who are part of the funding, hope to keep seniors in their homes longer.
Bill Lawlor, New Brunswick Director of Canadian Red Cross, says the program is geared toward helping vulnerable seniors, especially during major events like the recent spring flooding.
“We know that there’s some vulnerabilities within households on a regular day, so you compound that by a disaster happening in their community — we will already have access to those individuals who are registered with us as clients of the existing program.”
The Check-In is being offered in Moncton, Saint John, Miramichi and Campbellton, but Seniors and Long-Term Care Minister Lisa Harris says they would accommodate residents from other areas in the province as they launch the program in those selected regions. They hope to roll out the program across the entire province as soon as possible
Harris says researchers are tracking results of the Red Cross program, with the hope of finding ways to improve as they look to utilize the remaining funding for other programs.
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Cathy Rogers, Moncton South MLA, says the program will help seniors feel secure.
“This will be an initiative where proactive calls will be made to seniors’ homes by volunteers to just ask them how they’re doing and if they need help.”
Harris says a senior will be matched with a volunteer after calling in, and they hope to have the same volunteer continue the follow-ups.
Funding applications are now being accepted from community groups to be part of the New Brunswick-based Healthy Seniors Pilot Project.
Government officials say the programs developed under the first phase will benefit seniors across the country.