A First for Canada!
by tasiags on April 9, 2014 - 10:29pm
Published on March 19, 2014, the article “B.C. names Canada’s first seniors advocate” by Andrea Woo, addresses the rising issue of elderly abuse in Canada and what the country has done in an attempt to manage such a concern.
Isobel Mackenzie, who managed British Columbia’s major “non-profit community and senior serving body” for the past 20 years, has now been chosen to be the first seniors advocate not only in B.C., but for the whole country. Her main functions will include raising awareness, monitoring seniors’ services, as well as working in collaboration with seniors, their families and other secondary actors (e.g. policy creators, service workers, etc.) in order to pinpoint issues, which affect elders in order to provide recommendations to the government. Having worked with seniors for approximately 20 years, she has also served as “B.C. director for the Canadian Home Care Association” from 2007 to 2011. Ms. Mackenzie claims she is one of the best candidates as she’s witnessed the major issues and concerns related to elder abuse.
On March 31, 2014, she will begin her journey as seniors advocate, where she will be allocated a $2 million budget in order to consult with the elderlies and stakeholders, hire additional staff members, and form a council of advisers. Based on B.C. stats, such actions have already been put in place there due to the alarmingly high number of people aged over 65 (700,000), and where that number is supposed to double in the next 20 years. As of now, elders represent approximately 16% of British Columbia’s total population; by 2034, that number is projected to increase to one-quarter.
Elderly abuse is a significant social issue in B.C. (and worldwide as well) as reports on seniors, between 2009 and 2012, found several important problems and concerns, such as the unreliable guiding standards in “residential care facilities as well as long wait times for seniors to be assessed”. As a result, the B.C. government adopted the Seniors Action Plan in 2012, which had as a main objective to assign a seniors advocate. In February 2013, legislation was announced for the creation of such position.