“SOS, A True Lifeline”

By Ruth Bieber, Oceanside Better At Home client

When I first moved to the area, and having had some previous experience with a Better at Home program, I wasted no time contacting the coordinator of Oceanside Better At Home (OBAH) at SOS, Jolene, to introduce myself. As a senior who has been blind since age six, shopping is the bane of my existence, but we all need to eat, right?

That was the first need Jolene responded to, by giving my grocery list to one of the fabulous OBAH volunteers. The system works great, in my experience, especially now that we all have cell phones in case of a food item substitution request. Once shopping is complete, the groceries are brought right to my home, which I really appreciate. After all, next to shopping, simply getting around without sight is a challenge in a new community.

Speaking of moving to a new community, and no doubt one of the most beautiful places on the planet, it brings company, lots of company. Folk’s love coming to the Island! Initially I wasn’t always aware of all of the many beautiful locations to take my guests, but fortunately another OBAH volunteer who calls me regularly with the Friendly Visiting program, knew about many lovely places to visit. Recently my visitors and I took in Cathedral Grove, plus I learned about some wonderful waterfalls in the area as well. I learn so much from every conversation I have with this volunteer, who is so kind and attentive.

There’s more! Jolene was able to connect me with a housekeeping company, of which I have taken full advantage. As a blind person I feel so much safer when I know a second set of eyes come into my living space to check for things like mould, insects and the like. Such a wonderful and reassuring support!

And, turns out there’s even more support available than what I had originally understood! During a recent conversation with Lissa, SOS Communications Manager, I learned the programs are wide and varied, including some transportation to appointments (on hold right now due to the pandemic) and the like. I might very well take advantage of that.

The programs seem to be client led, which I really appreciate. In other words, the people needing the support ultimately decide what supports get put in place. How progressive is that? Not only are there supports for individuals, but SOS also offers programs that provide social interaction for seniors, including newcomers. I suspect people develop friendships out of these programs that are lifelong. Such a wonderful response to potential isolation and loneliness. Some of the group gatherings include speakers, so these events can be educational as well.

In closing, I would be remiss if I didn’t mention the friendliness of all staff members, who are always, kind, patient and ever knowledgeable. I’m so grateful for each and everyone of them. Thank you, Oceanside Better at Home, and SOS; a true lifeline.

Ruth Bieber, SOS Oceanside Better At Home client