The Better at Home First Nations programs provides non-medical supports to Elders through a basket of services that include: grocery shopping, transportation, housekeeping, home repair, friendly visiting, snow shoveling, and yard work. These services are intended to keep Elders socially connected and living a full life in their home community. The four Better at Home programs evaluated include Cowichan Tribes, Sto:lo Territory, Gitxsan, and Tsleil-Waututh Nation (with supplementary data from Squamish Nation program).
This evaluation has uncovered important distinctions of the Aboriginal Better at Home program that are essential to address in our collective efforts to move towards reconciliation. Many First Nations in our prosperous province and country continue to experience deep poverty, economic inequities, and lack of home ownership. Yet, there is a deep sense of pride and resilience that defines these First Nations and their communities. The cultural underpinning of relationships is foundational in First Nations teachings. Elders are often described as the 'heart' of First Nations as they play the important role of keepers of wisdom, knowledge, and history. Elders hold crucial roles in supporting and imparting tradition, knowledge, culture, values, and lessons using storytelling and role modeling practices. There is much for mainstream culture to learn about from the respect given to elders and First Nations’ traditions, cultures and beliefs.
The report includes overarching themes within the First Nations context, impacts on the quality of life of Elders, challenges to service delivery within the current model, and recommendations utilizing First Nations culture and traditions, where possible, as part of future planning methods and evaluative work.