Over the past few years my office has been dealing with more and more seniors care issues. These issues include concerns about rising costs and everyday affordability, as well as the availability of adequate home care and assisted living and long-term care beds.
I support the idea of creating a seniors’ advocate in the province to stand apart from the politics of the day and listen to and address individual complaints about seniors’ issues.
Much like the representative for children and youth, the advocate will advise the legislature about how to best address the needs of seniors now and in the future. Consultations on the establishment of this position have already begun, and you can add your voice to the discussion by e-mailing SeniorsAdvocate@gov.bc.ca, or by writing: Seniors Action Plan, Ministry of Health, PO Box 9825, STN PROV GOV, Victoria, BC V8W 9W4. The seniors’ issues I’m hearing about through my office have also been explored in detail by the BC Ombudsperson. They are documented in two reports on the state of seniors’ care in B.C. The reports are available at www.ombudsman.bc.ca/seniors, and they include numerous recommendations about how we can address these concerns. I’m hosting two forums with the ombudsperson in Quesnel and Williams Lake in order to educate everyone about seniors’ care issues, and to start developing local and regional plans to improve supports for seniors.
The ombudsperson will go through her reports and recommendations and take questions from attendees. The forums will be held on Tuesday, June 5 and are open to the public.
The Quesnel forum will be held at the Seniors’ Centre from 9 to 11:00 a.m. The Williams Lake forum will be at the Pioneer Complex from 2 to 4 p.m. I hope you’ll take advantage of this opportunity to have a conversation with the ombudsperson about seniors’ care. We would both like to know how you think seniors’ programs can be improved in our region.
Bob Simpson is the Independent MLA for Cariboo North.