Christy Clark is failing our seniors, report shows

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senior-walkingVICTORIA –The Christy Clark government is failing to protect an increasingly vulnerable senior population from the effects of the affordability crisis, say the New Democrats.

“Seniors are waiting too long for services and aren’t getting the support they need from the Christy Clark government,” said New Democrat health spokesperson Judy Darcy, responding to the release of a report from B.C.’s seniors advocate Isobel Mackenzie.

“These are our parents and grandparents. They were the ones who built our province and they deserve to be treated better than what they’re getting from this government.”

Mackenzie’s report notes that more seniors are needing assistance from government, with an 8.3-per-cent increase in the number of seniors needing SAFER (Shelter Aid for Elderly Renters) subsidies. But she found that while the subsidies have increased by 9 per cent since 2005, market rents have gone up by 34 per cent over the same time period.

The report also showed that the number of publicly funded residential care beds has been static, even as the senior population continues to rise.

And home support hours dropped across the province even as the number of seniors needing the service rose. Darcy said that was troubling. “Seniors are happiest and healthiest in their own homes.

“Seniors are seeing their costs rise but their services aren’t getting better, and in many cases, they’re waiting longer and getting less,” said Darcy. “The report shows that the average wait for subsidized seniors housing is more than two years.

“We raised the case of a woman from Burnaby who wound up on the street while she languished on a waiting list. That’s no way to treat vulnerable seniors,” said Darcy.

“I want to thank the Seniors Advocate for this thoughtful, measured report, putting focus on the needs of our vulnerable seniors.”