Planned Giving
- Page 6
Safe Seniors
Submitted by Lori McLeod,
Executive Director, Eldercare Foundation

If an elderly person fell in front of you, how would you respond? If you knew you could save a life, we know you’d want to help. Among older adults, falls are the number one cause of fractures, hospital admissions for trauma, loss of independence and injury deaths. Each year, 30 to 60 per cent of seniors suffer a fall through accident or due to health conditions that leave them dizzy, lightheaded or with poor eyesight. When considering our aging population, it’s easy to see how this already significant problem will quickly become more critical before long.

In 2016, the Eldercare Foundation partnered with Philips Lifeline to fund SAFE (Specialized Assistance for Elders), a medical alarm service to protect low income, at-risk older adults identified and qualified through Island Health’s Home and Community Care to ensure those with the greatest needs are helped. The SAFE Lifeline Program currently serves at-risk seniors on Southern Vancouver Island (Malahat south) and the Southern Gulf Islands (Salt Spring, Pender, Mayne, Saturna, Galiano) but hope to grow this support as we grow our funding base through planned giving and multi-year pledges, in addition to our staple of one-time donations.

A simple fall can have devastating effects on an older person. Unfortunately, it often only takes a momentary event such as a fall to remind us how vulnerable we actually are. Medical alert services like SAFE, that protect people living alone from the consequences of falling, are wonderful.

In a perfect world, everyone would have access to such a service. Sadly, this is not today’s reality as many seniors are struggling to meet their basic financial needs for shelter, food and medications on fixed incomes which are not keeping pace with ever increasing costs. Maintaining independence and peace of mind goes hand in hand with enhanced quality of life.

Island Health Home and Community Care staff have told us, “Having the SAFE Lifeline service helps people feel more confident, and enhances their lives enough to keep them out of hospital and out of residential care longer. These clients were isolated without much social support. Having SAFE Lifeline was very reassuring to the clinicians involved, knowing there would be a way (for the senior) to call for help.”

Eldercare’s current annual commitment of $30,000 allows us to provide SAFE to 45 people annually, but our lengthy wait list tells us that the need is much larger. To help more seniors and to plan for future years, we are asking you to consider a planned gift — a multi-year pledge or a one-time donation — to keep this important program going and growing. For more info, or to donate, call Eldercare at: 250-370-5664 or visit: gvef.org