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Seniors advocate hears from Prince George residents

BC Seniors Advocate, Isobel Mackenzie, hosted a Town Hall Meeting in Prince George Friday morning where about 75 were in attendance.

A concerned son talked about his 97-year-old mother waiting a year for long term care placement was just one of the issues BC Seniors Advocate Isobel Mackenzie hears during her meeting in Prince George on Friday morning at the Elder Citizen’s Recreation Centre.

The seniors advocate reviewed specific challenges facing seniors living in rural communities and suggested specific programs to help those in need.

In-home care assistance, for example, can be accessed through a program called CSIL, while medical travel expenses assistance comes by way of TAP and Hope Air.

As for the 97-year-old mom, she’s now in long term care after her year-long residence at the hospital.

MLA Shirley Bond attended the meeting and offered her gratitude to Isobel Mackenzie who will be retiring in April after spending 10 years as the BC Seniors Advocate.

The Office of the Seniors Advocate released a report this week summarizing the disproportionate challenges to healthy aging experienced by seniors living in B.C.’s rural communities. 

“Seniors everywhere experience difficulties related to aging but as I’ve travelled the province and examined the data, it’s clear that people who live far from urban centres face even greater obstacles because they have fewer services and resources to support them,” Mackenzie said.

Resilient and Resourceful: Challenges Facing BC’s Rural Seniors looks at the differences between rural and urban seniors’ populations and examines a range of services and supports to compare service levels between what is available in both rural and urban B.C.

Overall, the report concludes that rural B.C. has a proportionately higher and faster growing seniors’ population with fewer resources and services when compared to the urban seniors’ population.    

“We face a geographical challenge where 86 per cent of our population is concentrated in dense urban cores on four per cent of our land mass,” Mackenzie said. “The vastness of rural B.C. makes accessing supports by aging seniors more difficult because critical services are spread over a large, sparsely-populated area.” 

As Mackenzie retires from her position in April the new BC Seniors Advocate will be Dan Levitt, an adjunct professor of gerontology at Simon Fraser University and the head of a non-profit long-term care home. 

For more information about the BC Seniors Advocate visit