Seniors to shape advocate’s role as part of action plan

VICTORIA – B.C. seniors, families and stakeholders are being invited to help shape the implementation of a comprehensive action plan – including the establishment of an advocate – to ensure a more accessible, transparent and accountable approach to seniors’ care.

“Today, we are announcing concrete actions to improve the lives of seniors, their families and their caregivers,” said Health Minister Michael de Jong on Tuesday. “Over the past decade, our focus has been on expanding the range of care options for seniors to meet increased demand for the fastest growing segment of our population. 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 any concerns addressed.”

‘Improving the Care of B.C. Seniors: An Action Plan’ addresses concerns expressed publicly and directly to the Health Minister and the ministry by families and care providers. The direction of the action plan was also informed by the findings and recommendations in the comprehensive report on seniors’ care by B.C. ombudsperson Kim Carter. The minister and ministry staff have reviewed Carter’s report and met directly with her on numerous occasions about the need for improvements in channels of communication and the quality of care.

Through the action plan, stakeholders – including seniors and their families – will be consulted on specific items. Consultation initiatives include determining the role of the seniors’ advocate and developing a strategy to address the abuse of seniors.

“Seniors are an important sector of our community and it is critical we plan to meet the needs of this growing population,” said Ron Cantelon, Parliamentary Secretary for Seniors to the Minister of Health. “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 already 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.

“We applaud government for expanding non-medical home support for seniors,” said Michael McKnight, president and CEO, United Way of the Lower Mainland. “The five pilots are making a significant difference to seniors who want to stay in their homes longer and require some simple services to help them do so. They make a lot of sense and are the right thing to do.”

The Province is also providing $1.4 million to the BC Association of Community Response Networks to support prevention and education activities in collaboration with local stakeholders to end abuse and neglect of older adults in B.C.