Meeting the needs of seniors

Seniors need a strong voice that will ensure that their needs are met

Recently, our government introduced legislation for the creation of a new Seniors Advocate.

This was one of the promises made in the Seniors Action Plan, which our government wrote in February 2012. British Columbia will be the first province in Canada to have a Seniors Advocate.

Seniors need a strong voice that will ensure that their needs are met, and the Seniors Advocate will look after seniors’ needs in important areas like healthcare, personal care, transportation, housing, and income support. The Seniors Advocate will examine any issues related to services for seniors and make recommendations for changes to policies and procedures.

The new Seniors Advocate will have a great deal of autonomy, and will be able to choose his or her own work priorities. As a statutory officer appointed by Order in Council, the Seniors Advocate will function much like the provincial health officer, the auditor general for local government, or the comptroller general.

The creation of the Seniors Advocate is just one of the many ways our government is looking out for seniors. Another recent initiative is the Elder Abuse Prevention Strategy, which was announced recently by Minister of State for Seniors Ralph Sultan.

This strategy works to protect seniors from all forms of abuse, committing almost $1 million to initiatives: expanding the Seniors Abuse and Information Line (1-866-437-1940); creating information kits to help community groups and service providers identify and report abuse; and creating a multi-sector Council to Reduce Elder Abuse.

Our government is making sure the needs of seniors are met.

In Williams Lake, I’ve been trying to do my part as well, and I’m happy to say that last year Williams Lake opened a DriveABLE service, which allows older citizens to complete the assessment close to home. We know the importance of providing seniors with services tailored their needs, and we will continue to make sure they get exactly that.