Earlier this morning, BC Seniors Advocate Isobel Mackenzie held a press conference for the release of her office’s first official report. Health Minister Terry Lake put out the following response less than an hour later.
VICTORIA – Health Minister Terry Lake issued the following statement in response to the Office of the Seniors Advocate report “The Journey Begins: Together, We Can Do Better”:
“I thank Isobel Mackenzie for this initial report and the work she’s done touring throughout the province to hear the concerns of B.C. seniors and their families during her first six months in office. The preliminary findings contained in her report reflect the broad, varied and complex needs of older residents.
“Having a dedicated office to monitor, analyze and make recommendations on broad systemic issues affecting seniors, speaks to the high priority we place on the needs of our aging population. While there is a robust network of supports in place for the more than 700,000 seniors in British Columbia, we acknowledge that with more accurate and accessible information come greater opportunities for improvement.
“Isobel has identified housing and associated issues as the focus of her office’s first independent report. No matter what stage of life we are in, our homes are an integral part of the quality of our lives. While it is a significant undertaking, I have no doubt the Office of the Seniors Advocate will do a thorough review and have useful recommendations, which government, seniors’ organizations and care providers can consider for improving seniors’ care in British Columbia.
“We welcome the independent surveys that the Office of the Seniors Advocate will undertake. The additional information, along with plans to make it publicly accessible, will help seniors and their families make more informed choices about the residential care they receive.
“We know a collaborative effort with health authorities, community stakeholders, the seniors advocate, patients and their families will ensure seniors receive the best possible care. The role of the seniors advocate is unique in that it was specifically established for seniors, with the ability to work directly with government on important systemic issues for British Columbians.
“I look forward to receiving recommendations and advice from the seniors advocate in the coming months and years, and her contributions to improve care for British Columbia’s seniors.”