Dr. Margaret MacDiarmid, Minister of Labour, Citizen Services and Open Government, celebrated National Seniors Day by dancing with the residents of Shannon Oaks.
MacDiarmid, on behalf of Ron Cantelon, Parliamentary Secretary for Seniors to the Minister of Health, joined residents for a 90-second dance. With their favourite music, thousands of seniors throughout the province grooved in unison to mark National Seniors Day, which recognizes the lasting contributions older adults make to their families, communities and society as a whole.
Currently almost one-sixth of our population is more than 65 years of age. Over the next 20 years, the number of British Columbians over that age will almost double. Many individuals, communities, agencies and businesses are taking action to create more age-friendly environments, and government is working to support these efforts.
British Columbia has improved and modernized care options and supports for seniors throughout the province. A continuum of care for seniors has been created that includes home health services, assisted living and residential care. Seniors in residential care facilities have 100 per cent coverage for PharmaCare, one of the most comprehensive programs in the country.
The Ministry of Health and the United Way of the Lower Mainland are partnering on the Community Action for Seniors' Independence initiative, which is supporting seniors to live independently in their own homes. Pilot projects are underway in five communities:
- Maple Ridge
- Dawson Creek
- Surrey (Newton)
- Vancouver (Renfrew-Collingwood)
In these communities, seniors have access to non-medical home support services, such as housekeeping, home and yard maintenance, and transportation.
The government is giving British Columbians more choices regarding their future health care. New legislation came into effect last month that allows capable adults to create advance directives that provide health-care professionals with instructions about their future health-care wishes. The Province is supporting caregivers as well, through the creation of the BC Care Aide and Community Health Worker Registry.
Age-friendly BC encourages and supports communities and businesses to become age-friendly, where every senior has the supports and resources they need and feels valued and connected to their environment. There are eighteen BC Seniors Parks located around British Columbia. These parks are designed to help older adults stay mobile, physically active and healthy in their communities.
Seniors are a big part of the Healthy Families BC strategy. This $68.7-million initiative helps make the healthy choice the easy choice for all British Columbians. Healthy Families BC supports seniors in managing their health and in leading active lives through tools to support healthy eating, physical activity, tobacco reduction, social connection, and fall prevention.
Marlene Williams, executive director, BC Seniors Living Association -
"BCSLA sent over 14,000 National Seniors Day buttons - Let's Dance - to 126 member retirement communities around B.C. to commend and celebrate seniors' contributions and recognize the positive impact seniors make on our daily lives."
"We'd like to thank all the local MLAs who joined in dancing with the seniors at a community in their district. We are also extremely excited our sister associations in Alberta and Ontario have expressed interest in joining with us next year for a cross-Canada dance."
- The Province is committed to the Seniors' Healthy Living Framework, which supports older people to maintain a healthy lifestyle.
- In 2001, median wait times for access to residential care were up to one year. Today, the median wait is less than 90 days.
- Throughout B.C., 6,327 net new beds have been created and 7,453 residential care beds, assisted living and supportive housing units have been replaced.
- The Province expects to spend over $2.5 billion on home and community care for seniors this year.
- Twenty-three per cent more clients are receiving home-care professional services (nursing and community rehabilitation) than in 2001. The average number of care hours per home support client increased from 212 hours to 249.
- Approximately 71 per cent of all home support recipients pay nothing at all.
For tips on how to be healthy at any age, visit: healthyfamiliesbc.ca
For more information on supports and services for seniors, visit: seniorsbc.ca
To ask about programs and services for seniors, call the Health and Seniors Information Line toll-free at: 1 800 465-4911
Media Relations Manager
Ministry of Health
250 952-1887 (media line)