I just got back from the BCOAPO Convention at Matsqui, B.C. and have to say I not only enjoyed myself, I learned a lot. Convention is a time for business as well as party time when you meet old friends from the other branches and make new ones.
Most of the resolutions dealt with residential care facilities and issues affecting seniors. The workshops and presentations were priceless. I wonder how many seniors are aware of Involuntary Separation. When one partner is in residential care and has to pay 80 per cent of his/her income while the other partner struggles to make ends meet. There is a difference between Power of Attorney and Representation Agreement (RA7). If you own a house in Joint Tenancy and one spouse is left incapable, you will not be able to sell because the spouse is unable to sign any legal document. Here is where a person should have a RA7. There is a Senior Advocate in B.C. who you can contact by e-mail or phone if you are not computer savvy; her name is Isobel Mackenzie and she can advise you on a range of seniors’ services related to health care, personal care, housing, transportation and income support.
You can visitwww.senioradvocatebc.ca or phone 1-877-952-3181.
As June was graduation month, I would like to make the public aware of the Old Age Pensioners of B.C. Scholarship Society. In order to raise funds for scholarships and to be able to give income tax receipts for donations, they are now registered as a separate society under the Income Tax Act. Funds have been built up over the years from donations from the OAPO branches and private donations. In providing scholarships to students who are actively studying to provide care and assistance to seniors, members of the Society feel that they are fulfilling a very important mandate of the BCOAPO – Seniors Helping Seniors.
Scholarships are awarded from interest earned by the fund. This year a total of $7,000 in scholarships were awarded. Students in post graduate programs will be awarded in the amount of $1,000 each. Scholarships for students in programs of no less than six months will be awarded in the amount of $500 each. If you have a child or grandchild going to university and studying gerontology or enrolled in Home Support/Residential Care Diploma Programs, make them aware of these scholarships.
Things are slowing down at the Centre with so many volunteers away and busy with their gardens. Lunches are still on and so is Bingo and Crib. The Centre will be closed from August 22 and reopen on September 6. While it is closed the final phase of the kitchen renovation will be completed. There will be no Bingo on Aug. 22 and Sept. 3.
Pat Cassidy is a freelance columnist with the Tribune/Weekend Advisor.