On March 26, the B.C. Government announced the province-wide expansion of 211 service as part of a new initiative, Safe Seniors, Strong Communities.
The program is a joint initiative between United Way Lower Mainland’s Better at Home program, bc211 and the British Columbia Provincial Government through the Ministry of Health. It means that across the province, seniors can now dial 2-1-1 to request volunteer help with grocery shopping, meal prep and prescription pick-up or receive friendly check-in call. Seniors can also seek assistance by filling in an online form at www.bc211.ca. Seniors who contact the program will be matched with a volunteer to help them with their errands. The free service is available seven days-a-week during daytime hours.
“Seniors, who live independently, even with the help of family and friends, are facing deepened isolation which can in turn mean a heightened sense of loneliness and lack access to resources during the current need for social-distancing and self-isolation. Hearing a friendly voice, getting help picking up groceries and prescriptions is becoming increasingly difficult,” says Kahir Lalji, Provincial Director, Population Health, United Way Lower Mainland. “With Safe Seniors, Strong Communities available through bc211, help is a phone call, a click or even just a tap away and will keep seniors healthy and connected.”
bc211 call centres will monitor calls and online applications from seniors in need of assistance and from volunteers willing to offer help. Their information will be forwarded to one of 24 designated Better at Home COVID-19 response agencies across the province. The agency is responsible for matching local volunteers with seniors. All services provided will follow strict safety and social distancing protocols in accordance with the Ministry of Health guidelines.