Fletcher’s don’t help evaluate seniors’ issues or needs

The appointment of a seniors' advocate would help B.C. seniors

Editor, The Record:

Re: Polarized politics a costly system, May 23 edition.

There are about 9,800 residents in Mission older than 55 years old; 4,900 older than 65. Seniors are forming a major segment of society, but more importantly, seniors vote.

The Elder Citizens Action Coalition’s (ECAC) motto of unity in challenging times calls for all seniors to respond, become aware, get organized and form a major voting segment dedicated to achieving seniors’ rights and deserved respect, at future municipal, provincial and federal elections.

Seniors older than 65 comprise 13.3 per cent of the B.C. population. It is estimated that by 2031, seniors will make up 24 per cent of the population. At least one in 12 seniors suffer from Alzheimer’s disease. So, adequate representation of seniors is long overdue, not only from a health perspective, but socially, and in the creation of age-friendly communities.

So, when I read Tom Fletcher’s ramblings spouting a potpourri of biases and bafflegab, I strongly object to his inclusion and characterization of seniors, whereby he naively states “A new seniors’ advocate can offer advice at the management level to help the health care system evolve, but only politicians are positioned to tell individuals they can’t have what they are demanding.” Such folly, and misinformed rhetoric indeed.

He wrongly goes on to say it is good the Seniors’ Advocate won’t be staffed to duplicate the Ombudsperson, taking complaints. Further, such arrogance to say the Ombudsperson has become “ineffective, labouring over a massive report, so with many recommendations it sank like stone.”

Such ignorance is overwhelming, but does serve to illustrate the lack of media knowledge, empathy and oversight to seniors’ issues and needs. Amassing 160-plus needed recommendations clearly illustrates a sad commentary on the massive neglect that has occurred in B.C. at the hands of inept government and equally condoned by uninformed media like Mr. Fletcher.

Government has failed to recognize the massive and growing voting block of seniors in Canada. The provincial government offered a token seniors’ advocate within the Health Ministry; this was very short-sighted and superficially responding to significant demands for an Independent Officer of the Legislature, similar to Ombudsperson and Representative for Children and Youth.

Mr. Fletcher’s ramblings serve no purpose in evaluating seniors’ issues or needs, and unfortunately cause aspersions of media who seek to perpetuate unresponsive and ignorant government actions instead of encouraging government to enrich  seniors’ lives. The appointment of an effective Seniors’ Advocate would contribute toward that end.

George F. Evens


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