Ability to stay at home crucial for seniors — Cantelon

Parksville-Qualicum MLA says government is helping to keep seniors at home for as long as possible.

Parksville-Qualicum MLA Ron Cantelon says seniors need to be able to stay in their homes for as long as possible.

Parksville-Qualicum MLA Ron Cantelon says seniors need to be able to stay in their homes for as long as possible.

The addition of a seniors’ advocate in B.C. and the recently announced Seniors Action Plan is going to provide just one more tool to help senior citizens remain in their homes longer, says Parksville-Qualicum MLA Ron Cantelon.

The parliamentary secretary for seniors, Cantelon said the move towards B.C. seniors staying in their homes for longer periods is a national trend, one he hopes the province’s new age-friendly initiatives will help to reinforce.

“Seniors are an important sector of our community and it is critical we plan to meet the needs of this growing population,” he said. “The focus of the action plan is not only on the system of care but also compliments initiatives that support healthy aging to improve the quality of life for all B.C. seniors and help them remain independent for as long as possible.”

The action plan will support healthy aging to improve the quality of life for B.C. seniors to help them remain independent for as long as possible.

The province is providing $15 million to the United Way of the Lower Mainland, to expand the availability of non-medical home support services in up to 65 communities across the province over the next three years. This will build on five pilots currently underway that offer seniors access to a range of support services, such as transportation, housekeeping, home repair, yard maintenance, friendly visiting, and information and referral.

Transportation, Cantelon said, is a crucial aspect of the plan.

“Drivers licences has become a big issue,” he said. “I’m looking at the possibility of a pilot project by a group that does refreshers for people to upgrade their driving skills. It has been proven to help them keep their drivers licenses longer and keep insurance rates down.”

Through the action plan, stakeholders — including seniors and their families — will be consulted on specific items.

 

“In March, for example, we will having a open house forum on seniors abuse,” Cantelon said. “We are going to phase in a range of items, such as palliative nursing lines for people dealing with loved ones in their homes and we will make status reports of examinations of seniors care facilities online, so we will open up communication as well.”