Your readers should know that a lot is happening with a new group promoting action, as opposed to talk, on issues affecting local seniors. Voices for North Cariboo Seniors (the title of which was borne from an Observer headline!) attracted nearly 70 seniors at its second monthly meeting in late April. Issues centred on hospital care, residential and in-home care, transportation, accessibility and the controversial Drive Able program. We understand that some headway is being made on this driver’s license testing program, which intimidates some with confusing and alien forms of testing for license renewals. A petition expressing concern about the program’s testing process and calling on the provincial legislature to respect and consult with seniors in future testing procedures is being widely circulated by MLA Bob Simpson. Our president, Peter Nielsen, has written a letter to Northern Health calling for immediate action on several fronts, including a halt or better yet, reversal of the steady erosion of local hospital beds from 100 down to 31 at present, steady decline in home care services for seniors, untrained family and friends of ailing seniors being expected to deliver care instead of health care workers, the need to commute to Prince George for dialysis treatments and the need for new long-term care beds in our community.
Because many seniors are not connected by email and internet, we have made a commitment to communicate by non-electronic means, such as this letter to the editor, news releases, posters, etc. We will also keep in touch with the Quesnel and District seniors’ Society and the local OAPO group at the Golden Centre. In fact, we encourage all seniors to join one or both of those groups to help stay informed and to give the groups more political clout through strength in numbers. We are also working with the Seniors Advocacy Service to keep everyone informed. Stay tuned for news about their Seniors’ Info Day at the Legion, June 15. Also, thanks are due to our Quesnel Legion for caring and donating the use of their hall for these meetings.
Our next meeting will be held at 2 PM, this coming Thursday, May 17th at the Legion. We have invited a representative of Northern Health to attend and provide information about seniors housing, whether it be residential care, both private and public assisted living availability, as well as in-home care. We will be exploring priorities for new seniors housing. We will discuss the need for improved and expanded in-home care. We intend to prepare an inventory of home care availability for seniors and a ‘wish list’ for future home care. We are developing an ongoing calendar of events of interest to seniors in the North Cariboo.
Why am I involved in Voices for North Cariboo Seniors? I am hearing too many horror stories; and I have ailing parents in need of services that I feel are lacking or perhaps threatened in our community. And my main reason? Maybe a little selfish… but I want to work to ensure that there is quality care available for us rapidly aging baby boomers who wish to retire here in Quesnel and will need the care that we are now providing to our aged loved ones.
Vice President, Voices for North Cariboo Seniors