Delta’s seniors serviced by support co-ordinator

Delta's seniors support co-ordinator Eva Busich-Veloso helps Deltans 50+ find and access government programs and services.

celebration marking 20 years of the Fresh & Lively lunch program at Kent Street Activity Centre in White Rock. Vera Busich-Veloso spends one day a week in each of Delta’s similar centres helping people who are 50 or older get access to government programs and services.

Eva Busich-Veloso enjoys going to work, because she helps people find solutions to the challenges they are facing.

Busich-Veloso is Delta’s seniors support co-ordinator and spends one day a week in each of Delta’s three town centres helping people who are 50 or older get access to government programs. She describes herself as a “navigator,” helping people get through the challenge of making contact with government officials. Often this requires getting through a labyrinth of telephone options, and filling out complicated forms.

“I help people gain access to the services they need, and work with the boards and staff at seniors’ community centres,” she told the Reporter.

She helps people deal with common forms like those applying for Old Age Security or the Canada Pension Plan, as well as forms for provincial programs like Pharmacare. Often peopleare unsure about just what programs they are eligible for, so some of her work is educating them.

“Sometimes if people have low incomes, it causes other problems. They may not have access to enough food, for example. I can refer people to services. It can be very challenging [for them],” Busich-Veloso said.

She also refers people to various non-profit agencies, such as those dealing with affordable housing and organizations that assist people with specific health problems.

One issue she is often asked to help with is what to do after a spouse or partner dies. She has a checklist for people and is available to help answer specific questions on estates, income taxes and other related issues.

She also conducts focus groups and assessments for seniors with the goal of helping people to age well.

Busich-Veloso has a background in working with local government, long-term care and residential care. She has been in her current job with Delta for the past six months and thoroughly enjoys bringing her knowledge of various programs right to people who can benefit.

She said the biggest single challenge that people who come to her face relates to housing. The rising cost of rental accommodation and the stresses caused by rapidly-inflating real estate prices exact a toll on older people. Many simply do not have enough money to pay rent increases.

“When you get older and you are on a fixed income, you may be living in what is now an expensive home, but don’t have the income to keep it up.

“The World Health Organization has said that poverty is a big determinant of health. In the area of affordable housing, the stock is not keeping up with demand,” she said. “BC Housing is under stress.”

Busich-Veloso works at KinVillage Community Centre in Tsawwassen on Tuesdays, Kennedy Seniors Recreation Centre in North Delta on Wednesdays and McKee Seniors Recreation Centre in Ladner on Thursdays. She can be reached at 604-787-1242.