Tahsis to improve transportation service for senior residents

A shuttle service might be the solution for a predominantly senior population to access health facilities out of town

Tahsis looks to provide weekly shuttle service for its senior residents to access health care facilities located outside the village.

Mayor Martin Davis said that they have received a provincial grant of $25,000 to deal specifically with transportation issues of senior community members.

The need arises mainly due to a higher proportion of older residents in the village. In a community action plan assessment report on Tahsis, from October 2019, 76 per cent of the residents were identified as above 55 years of age with the average age of a Tahsis resident being 58.

The report identified transportation as one of the top markers of dissatisfaction, which was over 60 per cent, among its senior residents.

With a small economy and limited medical resources, residents travel over 150 kilometres to Campbell River for medical check-ups and consultations with specialists. Pharmacies are accessible at Gold River which is a 65 kilometre drive.

To add to that, the road conditions with long stretches that are unpaved, don’t help either, said the mayor.

“We have been struggling to get the roads improved and most seniors don’t have four wheel drives,” said Davis, adding that some residents don’t even have vehicles to travel such a distance.

However, the community’s “strong social fabric” keeps things running with volunteers helping out seniors in the community, said Davis.

Last week, when Tahsis faced a 36-hour power cut due to a logging company accident, the community volunteered to help. The village opened up the recreation centre, supplied power, meals and drinks for the seniors in the community.

Although there are two caregivers who visit the more vulnerable seniors in Tahsis, these seniors have to leave Tahsis once they need constant care.

“Many of them would prefer to live back at home in Tahsis,’ said Davis and added that limited facilities in the village makes it difficult for them to stay back.

Last year at the Comox- Strathcona Regional Health Board meeting, the mayor advocated for help with establishing a senior’s assisted living home in Tahsis.

Since then, the mayor said that they have been researching options, which could range from an extension to the clinic, a stand-alone home or just enhancing home care for seniors who want to remain in their homes when possible.

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