A new program, partially funded by the federal government and delivered by Langley Lodge, is designed to help socially isolated seniors in Langley. Troy Landreville Langley Times

Federally supported program sees seniors helping seniors at Langley Lodge

Volunteers sought for peer outreach program to reach out to socially isolated seniors

Thanks in part to federal funding, Langley Lodge is delivering a volunteer-driven seniors peer outreach program to reach out to socially isolated and at-risk seniors in Langley.

This project is funded in part by the federal governmen’s New Horizons for Seniors Program.

A major component is to develop a peer volunteer network of active seniors, who will receive training to conduct outreach activities.

Isolated seniors include those who live alone and do not have family or friends nearby , and who have physical, cognitive or financial challenges which limit their ability to participate in local community activities where seniors meet for social/recreation purposes.

Recruitment of volunteers is already underway, through the new Langley Volunteer Bureau, local print media, advertisements, and the Langley Lodge Volunteer webpage.

Volunteers must be 55 years and older, preferably have a healthcare or social services background and effective communication skills and be available a minimum of three hours per week.

The outreach program will provide phone outreach, face-to-face visits, and an invitation to participate in a weekly lunch and activity program at Langley Lodge, with transportation included.

“The Seniors Peer Outreach program is an extension of the socialization and recreational work that we already offer to our residents. Now, more seniors who are living in surrounding neighborhoods and who would like to have a regular visit, or attend a regular lunch and social outing at Langley Lodge, will have that opportunity,” said Langley Care Society CEO Debra Hauptman.

Health Authorities are preparing to deliver more services at home, to enable seniors to age in place.

However, circumstances like the loss of one’s spouse, or the ability to renew a driver’s license, or being geographically isolated from family or friends, can increase social isolation for some seniors.

The Seniors Peer Outreach program is intended to re-connect with these seniors, and create access to a network of support available at Langley Lodge, which is centrally located in Langley City.

“There is strong evidence that maintaining social networks and having regular activity, do improve our health, and ability to age-in-place, and this is a goal of our program,” notes Lisa Samms-Maxwell, the director of care at Langley Lodge.

Cloverdale-Langley City MP John Aldag agrees: “The presence of a strong and accepting peer group is an important aspect of life at every stage, and I am confident the seniors peer outreach program will be a valuable initiative to improve the quality of life for seniors living in isolation”.

Founded in 1974 and operated by the Langley Care Society, Langley Lodge is a nationally accredited non-profit organization which provides residential care services. The organization has an established volunteer base and volunteers already support recreation programs at the Lodge.