Please find part 2 from the Seniors Advocate’s office that would relate to seniors that live at Harmony Court.
A senior’s ability to age in place relies to a great degree on the affordability, appropriateness and accessibility of their accommodation as well as the availability of supports to assist them as they age. The survey asked seniors several questions about their awareness and usage of programs designed to provide support for aging.
There are a number of provincial and federal programs in place that help seniors to afford the costs of home adaptations to increase accessibility.
The seniors responding to the survey were generally positive about their current health and optimistic about their future needs. 85 per cent of the seniors rated their health as ”excellent”, “very good”, or “good” — despite the fact that one in five had been admitted to a hospital emergency room within the past 12 months. Less than 3 per cent of the seniors considered themselves to be in poor health.
Through the survey, seniors across B.C. reported on their knowledge and awareness of provincial and federal programs in place to help them as they age, and looked ahead to their future housing and health care needs. The results of the survey yielded some surprises.
Overall, the seniors surveyed reported low levels of awareness of some of the key programs currently in place to support them, indicating that important information is not getting to those who need it most. It is particularly worrying that those least aware were in the oldest age bracket, and indicated the lowest incomes, as these are the seniors most vulnerable and in need of services to support and care for them. The GIS, MSP Premium Assistance, SAFER rent subsidy, home adaptation grants and PharmaCare are long standing programs aimed directly at low-income seniors, and yet the survey would appear to indicate these benefits are not always reaching their intended target. This is a reminder that it is not sufficient to provide supports; we must also connect seniors directly to those programs and services.
Also critically important, is the number of low-income seniors who are not covered by a benefits program to assist with health needs such as dental care, vision aids, and hearing aids. The survey indicated 65 per cent of low-income respondents reported no coverage for these ancillary health care needs.
These facts help to highlight challenges faced by low-income seniors in B.C., and set the stage to improve supports where they are needed most. The Office of the Seniors Advocate will continue to reach out and survey B.C. seniors on issues and trends and provide public updates of the findings.