A group of Victoria seniors is hoping to help other senior neighbours stay in their homes longer.
The Fairfield-Gonzales Village is an organization slowly taking shape in the neighbourhood, and hopes to become a part of an international initiative called the Village to Village Network. Being part of this network would establish a call-line for members to access whenever they need anything.
“There are a lot of times when things happen and you panic, especially if you’re elderly and alone,” said Gaby Ostro, founding member of the Fairfield-Gonzales Village. “As a member of this organization they call the central number when they need help, whether it’s a plumber or some kind of health assistance, other than a medical emergency… They pay the cost of whatever it is they need, but the point is that they have the security of only needing one phone call to access the services.”
Ostro was inspired to push for the organization when she, a senior herself, began leafing through some of the resource booklets presently available for seniors in Greater Victoria.
“It’s quite scattered, and if you’re in a panic and trying to go through the booklet it’s pretty difficult,” she said, adding that she worked in elder care in her youth so she understands what seniors need.
The Fairfield-Gonzales Village has applied for not-for-profit status, and currently works in partnership with the Fairfield Community Centre, which has applied for a grant on the Village’s part. Now, Ortso and a group of nine other volunteers are working to establish relationships with local resources, establish a list of contacts, and see if any discounts can be arranged for Village members.
While in the United States annual membership fees cost between $500-$600, Ortso said she’s hoping to keep costs down so more people can access the services. The fees would also ensure that at least one permanent staff member could be hired.
“This really is a very sensible and cooperative kind of answer, and it avoids the necessity to move into a care facility,” she said.
Anyone interested in learning more about the Fairfield-Gonzales Village is welcome to come to an information session on Saturday, Oct. 26 at 2 p.m. at the Fairfield Community Centre at 1335 Thurlow Ave.