OUR VIEW: Independence very important

We say: Advocate decries outdated and restrictive regulations

As we age, our ability to live independently is gradually stripped from us. But a new report from the B.C. Seniors’ Advocate suggests that is happening faster than it needs to.

According to Seniors Advocate Isobel Mackenzie, many seniors are being moved into residential care facilities before they need that level of care thanks to what she calls outdated and restrictive regulations. Many seniors could instead be accommodated in assisted living programs and facilities, retaining more of their independence later in life.

Independent, active seniors are a big part of the community in Chilliwack where they make up a significant portion of the population and are still contributing members of the community and economy through countless hours of volunteer effort. Helping them maintain that independence should be the goal, rather than encouraging them into residential care.

Mackenzie’s report calls for a “fundamental redesign” of regulations for registered assisted living, to change spousal eligibility and reduce the number of higher functioning seniors moving to residential care.

It’s time the government recognized that becoming a senior doesn’t mean you are no longer a vital part of society and helped seniors in their quest to remain independent.

– Black Press