Almost one-sixth of B.C.’s population is over 65 years old.
The number of seniors is expected to rise from approximately 853,000 in 2016 to an estimated 1.46 million over the next 20 years.
Government continues to be committed to providing care to British Columbian seniors, their families and care providers.
What is government doing for Seniors’ Health?
- The Province is investing $500 million over the next four years as part of a Ministry of Health action plan to improve care for seniors. This will include:
- Year-over-year funding increases to enable health authorities to reach a consistent average of 3.36 direct care hours per resident day in both publicly administered and contracted residential care facilities. To help meet this goal and further improve the quality of care, the Province will work with health authorities and industry to hire about 1,500 additional staff.
- New specialized community service programs will be introduced provincewide to help proactively support the health of seniors with complex medical conditions.
- Other measures to improve seniors’ supports, such as additional home-support services and hours, and increased home-health monitoring.
- $10 million to the BC Care Providers Association and Denominational Health Association will help fund equipment like wheelchairs and patient lifts to help people with limited mobility.
- A continuum of care supports seniors, including home health, assisted living, residential care services and other community supports that promote independence. These include:
- The Better at Home program, which provides seniors with non-medical home support services, helps them stay living independently in their own homes for as long as possible. Since February 2012, the Province has provided $31 million to The United Way to develop and manage the Better at Home program, and has committed $10 million per year to the United Way of the Lower Mainland to implement the program that now operates in 67 program sites throughout B.C.
- Together to Reduce Elder Abuse – B.C.’s Strategy, released in March 2013, supports multi-sector measures to prevent, recognize and respond to elder abuse in British Columbia.
- The B.C. Association of Community Response Networks received $4.7 million in provincial funding to support practices to raise awareness and reduce or prevent elder abuse in communities.
- $13.7 million to the Alzheimer Society of B.C.’s First Link program to support individuals and families affected by Alzheimer’s disease and dementia.
- The Provincial Guide to Dementia Care in British Columbia, released in 2016, identifies priorities and actions designed to improve the quality of life and quality of care for people living with dementia, including supports for families and caregivers.
- An 11th edition of the BC Seniors Guide in English, French, Chinese and Punjabi.
- The My Voice advance care planning guide assists people to express their wishes for future health-care decisions in the event they are unable to do so.
- Government also passed first-of-its-kind legislation to enable the creation of a B.C. seniors’ advocate. In March 2014, Isobel Mackenzie was appointed as Canada’s first seniors’ advocate.
- The Office of the Seniors Advocate was established to identify solutions to systematic issues and to make recommendations to government on ways to improve care for B.C.’s aging population.
- Created the British Columbia Care Aide and Community Health Worker Registry to establish and improve standards of care for vulnerable British Columbians.
- Government passed amendments to the Community Care and Assisted Living Act, which mean better care options and added protection for those in assisted-living residences.
- As of March 31, 2016, B.C. had 31,965 publicly subsidized residential care, family care home beds, assisted living and group home beds. This is an increase of over 6,500 beds since 2001.
- Since 2001, the Province has invested in the development of residential care and assisted living beds around British Columbia. This increased bed capacity allows the care needs of seniors and people with disabilities to be met in a setting that supports their independence to the highest degree possible.
- In 2015-16, health authorities reported spending over $2.9 billion on home and community care – up from $1.1 billion in 2001 or an increase of 80%.
- Between 2001-02 and 2014-15, the number of clients receiving home health services increased 29% – from 78,349 to 101,059. In the last five years alone (2009-10 – 2014-15), this number has increased 16% – from 86,902 to 101,059.