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

Highway 7 down to one-lane alternating as crews fight Mt. Hicks wildfire

150-hectare blaze prompted closure of a provincial park

Night patrol on Chilliwack waters leads DFO to seize 48 sockeye and harbour seal from poachers

Charges pending after two poachers arrested for fishing at night

WATCH: Recruitment set to start for the Molson Coors Brewery at Chilliwack

There were about 1,000 jobs during the construction phase and some staff now being sought

Chilliwack goes cluck-cluck for chickens ahead of civic election

With an election in sight, urban chickens supporters ramp up their efforts for legal acceptance

Wildfire smoke brings in air quality advisory for Lower Mainland

People with health conditions are urged to avoid the outdoors

Average Canadian family spends 43% of income on taxes: study

Fraser Institute’s consumer report shows taxes accounting for larger chunk of income each year

RCMP to search for body after man drowns in B.C.’s Buntzen Lake

Officers and fire crews responded but the man from the Lower Mainland is believed to have drowned.

Police chiefs call for stricter controls on pill presses to fight opioids

Canada’s police chiefs are urging Ottawa to beef up its fight against the opioid scourge by closely vetting people who import pill presses

Hot, dry conditions forces drought rating to highest level on Vancouver Island

The province says Vancouver Island is under Stage 4 drought conditions

Victoria police say explicit calls continue to target women

Over 50 reports of unwanted, sexually explicit calls have come in

‘It’s like a party in your mouth’

B.C. creator’s Milkshake Burger makes its debut at the PNE

Get involved in the Great Canadian Bumble Bee Count

Environmental organization develops app to help with the nationwide count

Pesticides linked to bee deaths will be phased out in Canada, sources say

Neonicotinoids, or neonics, are a class of pesticides used by farmers and hobby gardeners alike

Most Read