Wed. Jul 24th, 2024

Saskatoon’s Caregiver Centre joined the Nav-CARE program to address feelings of isolation among seniors and their caregivers.

Roslyn Compton, associative professor at the College of Nursing at the University of Saskatchewan, said caregivers can often feel isolated and unsupported as they are 100 per cent dedicated to care.

Volunteers with the Nav-CARE program will help promote quality of life for seniors, offering companionship and emotional support and also lessening the weight on caregivers’ shoulders.

“Having a Nav-CARE volunteer come into your home means you might be able to reconnect with your friends, but you also might be able to have respite care in the home and you can leave the house for a little bit of time so you can do the things you like to do or the errands you really need to do,” Compton said.

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Compton said the Nav-CARE program helps to train volunteers that can go out into the community rather than waiting for caregivers to come to the centre.

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Saskatoon’s Caregiver Centre is a group within the city’s Council on Aging and will be putting forth volunteers to help create a more robust Nav-CARE program.

The program will try to match volunteer caregivers with people with whom they share similar interests, so the relationship goes beyond just a ‘check-in.’

“Through that relationship you might be able to have more deep conversations,” Compton said. “It’s a wonderful way of connecting community and building community without being too far from home.”

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She said the program will also lessen the burden on acute care facilities if the Nav-CARE volunteers are able to identify a problem before it becomes an emergency.

“Getting people connected to resources, getting them to see their doctor, we can talk about fall prevention, maybe they are feeling isolated, we can get them into a social activity. All of these things decrease the risk of presenting to health-care services to attend to their other complexities of needs as they are growing older.”

Compton said she hopes the program will expand across Saskatchewan, especially into rural and remote communities.

June Gawdun, executive director of Saskatoon’s Council on Aging, said the work will start in January once the council finds enough volunteers.

People looking to volunteer can contact the caregiver information and support office at 306-652-4411.

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