Victoria, BC — Today, the Victoria Hospitals Foundation (VHF) announced with profound gratitude a pivotal new partnership with The Amica Helping Hands Charity to create the Amica Helping Hands Compassionate Fund, dedicated to improving the quality of life of Greater Victoria seniors living in poverty. The fund was made possible by a generous $100,000 pledge from The Amica Helping Hands Charity, to be disbursed over five years.

“Amica has been a proud supporter of the Victoria Hospitals Foundation for many years, and we’ve seen first-hand the Foundation’s connection to the community,” says Derek Coss, Chief Development Officer, Amica Senior Lifestyles. “At The Amica Helping Hands Charity, we’re inspired by community services and programs that support the well-being of the most vulnerable seniors, living in the most vulnerable conditions. We are delighted to celebrate this new partnership that will serve the seniors who need it most, and to expand on the incredible work the Foundation is already doing.”

The Amica Helping Hands Compassionate Fund will support seniors who cannot afford personal expenses and basic human needs, such as haircuts and clothing. The fund will allow social workers, case managers, and front-line care providers to access financial support for their senior patients who fall below the poverty line—whether they be in hospital, or in the community. The funds will provide the individuals with food security, medication, mobility equipment, and personal care services.

“As healthcare professionals, we have an obligation to ensure that all our patients receive the best possible care. In Seniors Health, we are focused on dignified, individualized care for every one of our seniors, even more so as our aging population is growing,” says Dr. Marilyn Malone, Medical Director of Seniors Health, Island Health. “The Amica Helping Hands Compassionate Fund will help us go beyond what we have been offering, and enables us to change the story of seniors living under the poverty line in our communities.”

British Columbia’s seniors’ poverty rate is one of the highest in Canada. One in four Vancouver Island residents are over the age of 65, with one in seven of those seniors living in poverty. The number of seniors on Vancouver Island who are experiencing financial strain is well over 20,000. These figures, combined with inflation and the prolonged effects of the COVID-19 pandemic, have contributed to increased pressure on local hospitals and their ability to provide high quality, senior-focused healthcare.

“Amica as an organization has been a fantastic supporter of our hospitals through the years. Now, through this incredible initiative, Amica is truly changing the way some of our senior community members receive all-encompassing care, within our hospitals and beyond,” says Avery Brohman, Chief Executive Officer, Victoria Hospitals Foundation. “This generous gift and partnership with The Amica Helping Hands Charity is grounded in the belief that healthcare extends beyond our hospitals and into our community. We are so grateful for their support.”

Amica Helping Hands was established as a registered charity in 2003, with a mandate of serving Canadian seniors in need, through the provision of goods and services people need to flourish.

Royal Jubilee Hospital (RJH) and Victoria General Hospital (VGH) serve over 18,000 senior patients annually, through specialized inpatient units, a walk-in outpatient clinic with over 5,000 visits, and home visits. These sites treat acute conditions while supporting seniors to maintain independence and thrive.

RJH and VGH focus on the assessment, treatment, and rehabilitation of complex, multi-system conditions, and unique degenerative conditions common to seniors. An interdisciplinary team of specialists—from geriatric physicians, psychiatrists, nurses, and pharmacists to physical therapists, social workers, and more—work in unison to treat and care for our community’s seniors.