There’s something we all face on a daily basis and cannot stop no matter how hard we may try —that’s right, we’re all getting older.
Getting older isn’t a bad thing. With it comes knowledge and experience, but there are health-related issues that many people face as they age. That’s why it’s important to ensure there are proper facilities and resources to deal with these problems as they arise. Here in B.C., we are fortunate to enjoy many advantages in health care and in senior’s health care in particular. As the generation of baby boomers reach the age of retirement, more stress will be put on the health-care system and additional funding and resources will be needed. Right now the number of B.C. residents over the age of 65 is about 676,000 — that’s almost one sixth of the province’s population — and that number is expected to more than double over the next 20 years. The B.C. government recognizes this and is addressing these and other future seniors-related health care needs.
One of the ways B.C. is preparing for this shift in the population demographics is building what the government calls “age-friendly communities.” These communities are places where seniors can live fulfilling and socially engaged lives, while still maintaining their independence.
Through the Community Action for Seniors’ Independence pilot program, increased support for seniors living in their homes while receiving necessary care is another step along the path of increased health for people over the age of 65. Providing housing for seniors who require some level of care is also being addressed.
As of 2010, there are 4,376 assisted living B.C. units completed with another 114 being developed.
So as British Columbians grow older, there are challenges our province will face, but with an emphasis on healthy and active lifestyles coupled with appropriate care for seniors and the commitment of building age friendly communities, B.C.’s seniors are in good hands moving forward.
For more information on senior health care programs visit: http://www.seniorsbc.ca/.
Donna Barnett is the Liberal MLA for Cariboo-Chilcotin.