No one would argue with the belief that our seniors deserve the best possible care and access to every resource they need. Yet, somehow British Columbia’s senior population is being left out in the cold.
The Monitoring Seniors’ Services report was released by the Office of the Seniors Advocate this week, and the news isn’t good. Seniors are being given fewer resources, their rents are accelerating past their subsidies at an unprecedented rate, and rates of alleged abuse are increasing steadily.
“Some things B.C. does well, and there’s some things where we’re going, ‘whoops,’ we’re not looking so good, compared to the rest of the country,” Seniors Advocate Isobel Mackenzie said in a news conference.
Sorry, Ms. Mackenzie, but “whoops” isn’t good enough – our elders built the towns we have and it is our collective social responsibility to ensure they have what they need for as long as they need it.
Some disturbing highlights from the report include:
- In 2015/16, on a provincial level, the average home support hours delivered per year per client decreased by approximately 2% from the previous year, while the number of clients increased by 2%.
- The number of residential care beds has increased 3.5% since 2012, while seniors aged 85 and older has increased 21% over the same time period.
- Since 2005, the Shelter Aid for Elderly Renters (SAFER) maximum rent that qualifies for a subsidy has increased 9%, while rents have increased by 34%. There was an 8% increase in the number of individuals on SAFER (91% are 65 and older).
- The Senior’s Supplement, a monthly top-up provided by the provincial government to low-income seniors remains at $49.30, which, in 2016, is the same as it was in 1987.
- The Public Guardian and Trustee responds to allegations and investigates cases of financial abuse, neglect, and self-neglect. Referrals increased slightly over last year by 7%.
I cannot believe that an elected government would so blindly allow so many seniors – members of our families who provided everything we have today – to fall behind. Yet, the facts speak for themselves.
I will take your concerns about access to resources for seniors, available housing, and support for caregivers to Victoria.
It is time to put people first, it is time to put people back at the centre of our care programs.
News article (for quote about whoops): http://www.theglobeandmail.com/news/british-columbia/high-rents-reduced-supports-pushing-bc-seniors-from-homes-advocate/article33314562/