New Brunswick

Rural seniors get help staying longer in their own homes

Seniors in rural areas of southeastern New Brunswick might be able live in their own homes longer under a pilot project that got underway in August.

Nursing Home Without Walls serves 60 rural communities in the Sackville area

Pam Van Egmond says a big part of the job is to educate seniors and their families. (iStock)

Seniors in rural areas of southeastern New Brunswick might be able live in their own homes longer under a pilot project that got underway in August.

The "nursing home without walls" serves 60 rural communities in the Sackville area and will connect seniors with support services they need, said Pam Van Egmond, who has been given the title "senior navigator" with the project. 

Van Egmond, who will work out of Port Elgin with a paid assistant and volunteers, said a big part of the job is to educate seniors and their families.

"Things can happen quickly and sometimes a fall or health issue arises, and they may not be aware of what services … could be put in place for them to help them manage in their own home," said Van Egmond.

The projects area extends from Sackville to the Nova Scotia border and from Shemogue to Cape Tormentine.

The project was announced in May by the federal and provincial governments and is being carried out under the direction of the Centre for Research on Aging at the University of Moncton.

Workers with the project will approach seniors living at home now and find out what services they need to be able to continue living where they are. 

"That could include things like support workers, foot care, meals, perhaps transportation," said Van Egmond.

"Some seniors, of course, in a rural area are experiencing … residences that may need minor repairs. So we link them to those services, and we're kind of a pivotal point for them to reach out to."

Isolation is also an issue for seniors, especially in rural New Brunswick, Van Egmond said.

"We're putting in place some programs that we hope [will] attract the seniors to come out more, especially [during] the winter months that can be pretty long in the rural area," she said.

Van Egmond said the pilot is being monitored and if it's successful it could be taken to more areas of the province.

With files from Information Morning Moncton

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