Oct. 21, 2009
FREDERICTON (CNB) - Friendly visiting and telephone reassurance services for seniors are being expanded and enhanced in New Brunswick through a partnership between the province, the Canadian Red Cross, the New Brunswick Senior Citizens' Federation, and l'Association acadienne et francophone des aînées et aînés du Nouveau-Brunswick.
Minister of State for Seniors Brian Kenny made the announcement today during Active Living Week for Seniors in New Brunswick.
"Social interaction and support is important for a healthy lifestyle and quality of life," said Kenny. "Friendly visiting and telephone reassurance programs help seniors feel secure, in touch, and actively engaged in their communities. I am very pleased to see these services being expanded and enhanced to support seniors who may be living alone or are unable to leave their homes."
The Senior and Healthy Aging Secretariat is providing $300,000 to help fund the project. Friendly visiting and telephone reassurance services will expand into the Sackville, Grand Falls, Edmundston, St. Stephen and Miramichi areas. The same services will be enhanced in Campbellton, Woodstock, Fredericton, Saint John, Moncton, Bathurst, Tracadie-Sheila, Richibucto and Sussex. The Canadian Red Cross will hire five full-time and eight part-time staff to administer the increased service delivery.
"A visit or phone call from the Red Cross to check how they're doing and to see if they have any concerns means the world to many of our seniors, and for some it is a highlight of their week," said Patricia Burgess, senior advisor for the Canadian Red Cross in New Brunswick. "We already provide almost 9,000 calls and visits per year in the province. It's gratifying to be able to expand and enhance a service that seniors value so deeply."
The New Brunswick Senior Citizens' Federation and l'Association acadienne et francophone des aînées et aînés du Nouveau-Brunswick will assist the Canadian Red Cross with recruiting and screening volunteers. Both organizations will also help identify seniors who may benefit from friendly visiting and telephone reassurance services. The Canadian Red Cross will provide training for volunteers.
"This funding strengthens our partnership with the province and with these two support organizations for seniors," said Louise Castonguay, regional director for the Canadian Red Cross in New Brunswick. "Seniors form an increasing proportion of the population, and they need programs such as this to help enhance their safety and security."
Friendly visiting provides volunteers to visit seniors in their homes on a weekly basis to relieve loneliness and social isolation. Telephone reassurance consists of regularly scheduled calls by a volunteer to seniors in their homes for a security check and social support. Calls may be made daily or several times weekly to meet a senior's needs.
"Both friendly visiting and telephone reassurance services provide peace of mind for seniors and their families," said Kenny.
The expanded and enhanced services will begin immediately as volunteers are recruited and trained.
MEDIA CONTACTS: Judy Cole, communications, Senior and Healthy Aging Secretariat, 506-444-3522; Janice Babineau, public relations, Canadian Red Cross, 902-424-1413.