Seniors advocate makes stop in Agassiz

'Going to take time to address recommendations,' says Isobel Mackenzie

B.C.’s newly-appointed seniors advocate stopped in Agassiz last week, to take part in a day of learning for local seniors.

Isobel Mackenzie is the first person to hold the title of Seniors Advocate in the country, and she’ll be working on behalf of B.C.’s seniors out of an office in Victoria. She spoke to a room of about 100 seniors, community workers and health professionals last Thursday at Cheam Village, explaining her role and what she hopes to accomplish for seniors.

Her position was created as a result of the Seniors Action Plan, which was released in 2012.

“There were 176 recommendations in that plan,” she said. “It’s going to take some time to address those recommendations.”

But one of the first jobs will be to streamline the process of accessing seniors’ services. A website is currently being created where all services can be found in one location. Similarly, a 1-800 number is being set up for the same purpose.

“The new 1-800 number will be a beginning to an end of fragmented services,” she said, which is a common complaint from those trying to access services.

Many seniors may not even be aware of the many services available to them, she underlined. Her job is to study and research issues surrounding seniors, and to monitor and review system-wide issues affecting the well-being of seniors. Her office will also take the role of acting on recommendations that were laid out in the 2012 Seniors Action Plan. She’ll do this independently from the province of B.C., she assured the crowd in Agassiz. However, she said her role is not to act as a critic.

“I personally don’t see it as effective to stand up and say ‘what you’re doing is wrong, and what you’re doing is wrong’,” she said. “I feel it’s better to work with the government.”

Mackenzie’s findings won’t be in vain, as the Ministry of Health (currently Terry Lake) is required by law to report any recommendations made by Mackenzie.

She welcomed all seniors to contact her office with any concerns, and encouraged them to seek out resources available to them. Mackenzie also pointed out that seniors play an important role in society, and make up the bulk of the province’s volunteer force. Often times, she said, seniors are being taken care of by their peers.

“Thousands of senior caregivers would have to be replaced is seniors shut down for the day,” she said, illustrating just how important their role, and their health and wellness, are to everyone. About 700,000 people in B.C. are seniors.

 

“I have spent nearly two decades working directly with seniors, their families and their care providers and learning about the individual issues that affect seniors as they age and receive care,” Mackenzie said when she was appointed earlier this year. “I am honoured to accept this important position and look forward to applying my experience as I set priorities and establish my mandate in the coming weeks and months.”

Mackenzie’s talk was part of an all day Seniors Fair at Cheam Village, which included information booths, a lunch, discussions and door prizes.

To contact Isobel Mackenzie’s office in Victoria, email seniorsadvocate@gov.bc.ca.

Just Posted

Reports of rashes prompt pool closures at Harrison Hot Springs

Public pool available after all five mineral pools closed until further notice

Chilliwack’s Chief Ernie Crey a firm pipeline supporter

Crey lauds NEB focus on marine safety in his role representing Indigenous oversight committee

Measles case confirmed within Fraser Health region

One case within Fraser Health is related to the outbreak in three Vancouver schools.

Harrison Festival to share the culture behind the music

Festival director Andy Hillhouse will be talking about nationalism in music, starting March 1

Risk of ‘deadly avalanches’ leads to warning for B.C.’s south coast

Weak layer of snow on Vancouver Island, Lower Mainland could trigger an avalanche

VIDEO: Wheelchairs teach Agassiz students acceptance through sport

Teacher Donna Gallamore brought wheelchairs to the Kent Elementary for learning and fun

Twilight Drive-In announces open season start date

Opening weekend will showcase a double feature with Aquaman at 7:15 p.m. and Glass at 9:50 p.m.

Pope’s sex abuse prevention summit explained

It’s A high-stakes meeting designed to impress on Catholic bishops the global problem

B.C. ticket holder winner of $25.9-million Lotto Max jackpot

Next draw set for Mar. 1 with an estimated jackpot of $10 million

VIDEO: Giants earn 40th victory in a 4-0 triumph over Victoria

G-Men move within a point of clinching the B.C. division banner at Friday’s at-home game in Langley

Girl heard saying ‘Help my Dad’ in suspicious radio message on Vancouver Island

Police asking for help following mysterious signals from somewhere between Comox and Sayward

Man sentenced to 7 years for smuggling drugs and shooting at border guards in Sumas

Nathan Hall was arrested in Abbotsford in 2013 after day-long manhunt

No treatment for highly infectious measles, says doctor

10 cases of measles confirmed in Vancouver as of Friday

Two more measles cases confirmed in Vancouver

It brings the number of total cases within the city connected to the outbreak to ten

Most Read