B.C. increased spending on seniors

Health Minister Terry Lake appeared in the Vancouver Sun today and provided a rebuttal to a recent article in the paper regarding support services for seniors. What follows is a copy of his response:

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Re: Health care costs worry seniors, July 29 

Minister of Health Hon. Terry Lake
Minister of Health Hon. Terry Lake

We all need to think about and plan for our senior years, especially in B.C., where we are fortunate to have the longest life expectancy in Canada.

I want to assure seniors and the public the Government of B.C. continues to make significant investments in health supports for seniors in B.C. Each year, we spend over $2.7 billion on home and community care alone. This is up over 73 per cent since 2001.

As well, there were 51 per cent more clients receiving home care professional services (such as community nursing and community rehabilitation) from 2001-13 and the average number of care hours per home support client increased in that time from 188 hours to 211 hours.

In my discussions with seniors and their families, one thing I have heard consistently is that seniors want to stay in their homes as long as they can. That is one of the reasons we have provided $22 million in funding to the United Way of the Lower Mainland to develop and manage the Better at Home program, which helps seniors with simple day-to-day tasks to allow them to continue to live independently.

The number of seniors in B.C. is expected to double over the next 20 years. My mandate, as minister, is to ensure we have a system of responsive and effective health care services for all British Columbians, now and into the future.

The number of seniors in B.C. is expected to double over the next 20 years. My mandate, as minister, is to ensure we have a system of responsive and effective health care services for all British Columbians, now and into the future. That is why our strategic priorities include supporting primary and community care, which will reduce dependency on more expensive hospital care and enable seniors to stay healthier and in their own homes longer.

TERRY LAKE

                                                                                     B.C. minister of health