By John Twigg
Leader, B.C. First Party
Apart from being a senior myself, at age 68, and being a founding member of the Campbell River Seniors Centre, which give me various valuable insights into seniors’ concerns, I also have a platform that reflects the need for and benefits of more and better efforts to meet seniors’ present and emerging needs, plus I have other platform policies that will help to grow the economy and thereby make such service improvements viable and affordable, as well as desirable.
One of my main policy objectives is to better enable seniors who wish to stay in their own homes to do so as long as possible, which is what many seniors themselves want but which also is helpful to the community at large by keeping more seniors out of costly care facilities, some of which facilities also can become quite unpleasant, such as long waits in soiled diapers reported in some facilities, especially in publicly-funded beds in private-sector facilities – a type that was unfortunately and unfairly favoured in the Gordon Campbell years.
The best way to do this is to rebuild the Home Care program that was gutted by the Campbell Liberals, notably their false economy in greatly reducing double-staffing on visits and thereby triggering a jump in workplace injuries as single workers struggled to do the lifts that formerly were easily handled by two workers working together.
However there are several viable routes to service improvements, such as new models for care facilities, for example perhaps experimenting with a combination of Child Care facilities and Seniors’ Activity Centres interacting in facilities such as underutilized schools – which would require new types of inter-ministry co-operation that has been sadly lacking in the 16 years of B.C. Liberal mismanagement.
These improvements in Seniors’ Care also should be seen in wider contexts, notably saving money by delaying the entry of seniors into more costly facilities such as acute-care hospitals, and growing the economy to help pay for such improved services (another similar one of which is more Child Care), which can be accomplished by unrelated financial and economic reforms such as reviving the Bank of B.C. and letting it issue a new currency (in addition to the C$, not supplanting it) which could in part help pay family caregivers who now get virtually no help for their work and expenses.
But improved care services for seniors also could be seen as an asset for the economy, notably as a prime target for job creation and entry-level work experience for young and marginalized workers – a sort of modern version of the now-outmoded candy-striper model of care aides who were generally ousted from hospital and care facility workplaces by union and legal pressures in recent years.
Overall the solution to seniors’ issues is a more holistiic, practical and innovative approach to finding new solutions to emerging problems.
Meanwhile there also are housing and affordability problems arising for many of the Baby Boomers now reaching retirement age, and many of whom – like me – are still physically and mentally robust and looking for new challenges for what could be decades of life yet to come.
These challenges should be addressed in an open and democratic market, and probably be looked upon as not just a problem but also an asset: a great opportunity to improve our society.
The more more seniors can contribute their ideas and wisdom to society the better it will be.
Any questions, please call 778-348-0747