Seniors care is front and centre in local meetings

If you care about local seniors, don't miss series of upcoming meetings

They gave birth to us; they fed, clothed, sheltered, protected and comforted us. Sometimes they put their lives on the line for us, even died for us. They loved us. They are our seniors, our elders, what used to be known as the old folks.

As the current saying reminds us, “What goes around, comes around”.

Now it is our turn to ensure love, care, and comfort for our seniors.

In today’s world it’s not always a simple matter of mom or/and dad or gram or aunt Lizzie moving in with the younger generation. The ‘youngers’ may both work long hours away from home, the house is small, their health is poor, the budget tight, or they simply may not have the skills or even the desire to house and care for their elders. Looking after their elders without empathy, sympathy, and love can lead to that ugly term, elder abuse.

This is where the state steps in … sometimes. But with a cumbersome entity like government, our seniors are still in need of our help.

The problem is that ‘they’ (read government) have not made it easy or even possible for us to help. But change is in the wings.

A local NDP candidate, Barry Avis, is helping to give us an opportunity to ask our questions and air our concerns. This week there will be three meetings with Katrine Conroy, the opposition critic for seniors’ care.

On Friday morning, March 30, from 10 to 11:30 a.m. at Parksville Quality Inn Bayside, will be a special discussion circle between members of local care facilities’ Family Council members and Conroy but with no members of the press present. This will be an opportunity for Ms.Conroy to hear from families about issues related to seniors’ residential care and government policies.

That afternoon from 2 to 4 p.m. at the Qualicum Beach (old) Community Hall, another meeting with Conroy —open to the public.

I hope you will determine a time and place where you may learn about and/or question current senior care in B.C.

Another very positive note on seniors’ care is that in just about two weeks time, the B.C. Ombudsperson, Kim Carter will be in Parksville at the invitation of the Oceanside Coalition of Strong Communities to discuss her report on seniors’ care.

Watch for the time and date of this presentation.

Kim Carter has released two lengthy reports on her findings on seniors’ care The Best of Care: Getting it Right for Seniors in BC.

Part 1of this report came out in 2009 and Part 2 has now been released and was just recently tabled in the B.C. legislature. Carter made an important point in stating, “We need to provide a renewed commitment to some of the most deserving and vulnerable members of our communities; a commitment that focuses on their needs, listens to their concerns, and respects their choices.”

Encouraging too, is the result of Conroy’s push for a defined Seniors’ Act in B.C. In mid-February the government released its Action Plan to improve the lives of seniors, their families, and their caregivers.

Said Health Minister Mr. de Jong, “Now is the time to expand our efforts in ways that help seniors and their families navigate the system, easily access information about care options, and have a clear and simple way to have concerns addressed.”

Included in the Act is the establishment of the Office of the Seniors’ Advocate, to be launched in June of this year.

If seniors’ care is on your plate, in whatever respect, try to attend the upcoming meetings and learn what is being served. For more information, you may call Barry Avis at 250-752-0935 or e-mail him at barry.avis@bcndp.ca.