Plan with seniors, not for seniors

The people of B.C. and Canada are getting older, which creates both opportunities and challenges.

By Art Kube

It’s nice to be remembered. And it’s for a whole week, not just 15 minutes.

The provincial government proclaimed last week as Seniors’ Week. Political leaders issued statements about the contributions seniors have made to the province’s economy and society as a whole.

A few of us old folks were talking about it the other day. We’re honoured to have a whole week. Someone noted that mothers and fathers only get a day, and we qualify for those days as well. It’s always welcome when people say nice things about you – especially when they do so before you’re time is up. But we also came to the conclusion that something is missing in the discussion of seniors’ issues. The key point is that we’re still alive, still as active as we can be, still anxious to help build a better province.

There’s a large demographic shift underway. The people of B.C. and Canada are getting older. It creates both opportunities and challenges. It also creates a real need for political leadership.

We have a hodge podge of approaches to aging. Responsibility is divided among a host of federal and provincial government ministries. Local governments also have a role in creating age-friendly communities.

There’s no doubt it’s easier said than done, but what we really need is a comprehensive, coordinated approach to this demographic change.

The driving force should be to help seniors stay active, healthy and independent. Too often, government programs treat symptoms rather than reach for the real goal. They put a cast on the broken leg, rather than working to prevent the fall. They provide inadequate home care and home support services, forcing many seniors into residential care homes, or even acute care beds. It doesn’t make sense economically or socially.

Other countries have faced demographic shifts. We’re not the first. Their solutions are quite different from what we see here today. They focus on independence. Home care. Home support. Independent living arrangements. Opportunities for social contact. And public pensions sufficient to lift seniors out of poverty.

We don’t claim that age gives you wisdom, but it does give you experience. Seniors are an asset, not a liability, to society. We have no desire to be put into expensive facilities where we can vegetate and wait to die. We want to fully participate, advocate on public issues, fulfill our responsibilities as citizens, and help to create a more civil society for our children and grandchildren. And we must be involved in planning our own futures.

• Art Kube is the President of the Council of Senior Citizens’ Organizations (COSCO) of B.C. COSCO is a federation of 80 organizations throughout the province, representing more than 80,000 seniors.

 

Get local stories you won't find anywhere else right to your inbox.
Sign up here

Just Posted

A small memorial to Rich Goulet was started at Pitt Meadows Secondary after his recent death. (Neil Corbett/The News)
LETTER: Rename Pitt Meadows school gym in coach’s honour

Rich Goulet was considered one of the provinces best basketball coaches and died recently

Doug Nolin, a Maple Ridge senior, snapped this picture of his pet pigeons taking flight down by the old Albion ferry dock. “What a beautiful land we live in,” he said. (Special to The News)
SHARE: Chirp, chirp: Ridge senior captures pigeons taking flight

Send us your photo showing how you view Maple Ridge or Pitt Meadows, and it could be featured soon.

Pamela Franklin captured this picture of a raccoon in Maple Ridge, “chilling” in her backyard, on her storage bin. (Special to The News)
SHARE: Lounging in the spring sun

Send us your photo showing how you view Maple Ridge or Pitt Meadows, and it could be featured soon.

Debbie Noseworthy snapped a sunset picture the first day of daylight savings as seen from the dikes off 216th Street in Maple Ridge. (Special to The News)
SHARE: Sky on fire over Maple Ridge dikes

Send us your photo showing how you view Maple Ridge or Pitt Meadows, and it could be featured soon.

Darlene Martin captured this ‘breathtaking’ view of a sunset and the Fraser River as taken from Osprey Village. (Special to The News)
SHARE: View from Osprey Village breathtaking

Send us your photo showing how you view Maple Ridge or Pitt Meadows, and it could be featured soon.

B.C. Health Minister Adrian Dix and Premier John Horgan describe vaccine rollout at the legislature, March 29, 2021. (B.C. government)
1,262 more COVID-19 infections in B.C. Friday, 9,574 active cases

Province’s mass vaccination reaches one million people

People walk past the Olympic rings in Whistler, B.C., Friday, May 15, 2020. Whistler which is a travel destination for tourists around the world is seeing the effects of travel bans due to COVID-19. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Jonathan Hayward
Adults living, working in Whistler, B.C., eligible for COVID-19 vaccine on Monday

The move comes as the province deals with a rush of COVID-19 and variant cases in the community

RCMP crest. (Black Press Media files)
UPDATE: RCMP investigating after child, 6, dies at motel in Duncan, B.C.

The BC Coroners Service is conducting its own investigation into the circumstances around the child’s death

Cannabis bought in British Columbia (Ashley Wadhwani/Black Press Media)
Is it time to start thinking about greener ways to package cannabis?

Packaging suppliers are still figuring eco-friendly and affordable packaging options that fit the mandates of Cannabis Regulations

RCMP display some of the fish seized from three suspects who pleaded guilty to violating the Fisheries Act in 2019, in this undated handout photo. THE CANADIAN PRESS/HO - RCMP
3 banned from fishing, holding licences after overfishing violations near Vancouver Island

Mounties seized the group’s 30-foot fishing vessel and all equipment on board at the time

B.C. Premier John Horgan responds to questions during a postelection news conference in Vancouver, on Sunday, October 25, 2020. British Columbia’s opposition Liberals and Greens acknowledge the COVID-19 pandemic has presented huge challenges for Horgan’s government, but they say Monday’s throne speech must outline a coherent plan for the province’s economic, health, social and environmental future. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Darryl Dyck
Horgan’s NDP to bring in throne speech in B.C., Opposition wants coherent plan

Farnworth said the budget will include details of government investment in communities and infrastructure

FILE - An arena worker removes the net from the ice after the Vancouver Canucks and Calgary Flames NHL hockey game was postponed due to a positive COVID-19 test result, in Vancouver, British Columbia, in this Wednesday, March 31, 2021, file photo. As vaccinations ramp up past a pace of 3 million a day in the U.S, the NHL is in a tougher spot than the other three major North American professional sports leagues because seven of 31 teams are based on Canada. (Darryl Dyck/The Canadian Press via AP, File)
Vancouver Canucks scheduled to practice Sunday, resume games April 16 after COVID outbreak

Canucks outbreak delayed the team’s season by eight games

Most Read