Prince George residents will get a chance to have their say on the future of healthy aging today as Northern Health holds a forum at the Civic Centre.
The consultation process is part of a region-wide strategy the health authority is undertaking as it begins to develop a new strategy around senior's health.
Northern Health vice-president of clinical programs and chief nursing officer Suzanne Johnston said some common themes have already begun to emerge from consultations held in the northwest and northeast service delivery areas.
"We never like to take too early an approach on theme development, but it's becoming clear that people are really interested in non-medical supports, the kind of things that support people staying at home," she said.
Ideas that have been suggested at previous meetings are an increased focus on things like support for light housekeeping for seniors, enhanced transportation options and assistance with understanding how seniors should be taking any medication they're on.
"It is desirable for many people to stay at home as long as we can," Johnston said. "That doesn't mean to say it's a replacement for things, because the other side of the issue is when people need care they want to have access to it."
Social isolation also came up in a few of the sessions and one community had a creative solution where six couples were considering buying property together so that in the event one person dies, the remaining partner will have a built-in support network.
Once people do decide to move to a residential care facility, there were discussions around finding better ways to accommodate family visitors.
While the topic of healthy aging may be of particular interest to seniors, Johnston said some younger people have also been coming out to the meetings to share their views.
"They said, we don't want old traditional stuff, we want to think out side the box and be part of it.," she said.
The Prince George consultation will begin at 2 p.m. at room 208 at the Civic Centre.
Johnston said participants can expect a "riveting conversation" during the workshop-themed session.
The public meetings in other communities have attracted anywhere from 20 to 80 people.
"The discussions have been very rich," Northern Health president and CEO Cathy Ulrich said.
In addition to the open public meetings, Northern Health is also conducting focus groups which deal with specific issues.
Once the consultation is complete in early December, the committee examining the issue will begin to prepare a report which will be delivered to Northern Health's board of directors early next year.
"The board takes the input, the time the people take to give us feedback very seriously," Johnston said.