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October 28, 2017 12:32 am

Seniors Advocate service report raises red flags

Wednesday, January 27, 2016 @ 10:38 AM

Prince George, B.C. – The Seniors Advocate has  released a report   on  services for seniors in B.C. and while offering some positive notes,  there are some areas of concern.

Seniors Advocate  Isobel Mackenzie says the positive  notes include  the fact 96% of seniors report they have a regular GP and that  80% of seniors  over the age of  85 have no signs of dementia.

One area of concern  is the  number of incidents of  aggression between  residents in  residential care.  There were  between 425 and 550 incidents of  such  aggression that resulted in harm   reported  in  2014/2015.    Mackenzie says that number of cases is still relatively small compared to the  more than 27 thousand  people  who are in residential care,  but  her office will be starting  a more  in depth  study to see if there are any  particular patterns or systemic issues that  contribute to  an increased risk  of  resident on resident  aggression. “I think  you would agree that  any such incident  when  you are dealing with this population,  has a  potential for a fatality” says Mackenzie.

Other  areas of note are as follows:

• Home support hours decreased in three out of five health authorities, while the number of clients increased in four out of five  Mackenzie says  in some areas such as Northern Health, the  decline may be linked to  a difficulty in  recruiting  home support workers.

• There are 943 individuals on the waitlist for a total of 4,430 subsidized assisted living units. There has been less than a 1% increase in the number of subsidized assisted living units since 2012

• The number of residential care beds in the province has increased by 3.5% since 2012, but the population over 75 has increased 10% during that time and the number of seniors placed within the 30-day target window has decreased from 67% to 63% in the past year

• 18% of licensed residential care facilities did not have an annual inspection within the last year

• Since 2005, the Shelter Aid for Elder Renters (SAFER) maximum rent that qualifies for a subsidy increased 9% while rents increased by 34%

•  Income supports for seniors such as the Old Age Supplement and Guaranteed Income Supplement increased by 1%. The BC Seniors’ Supplement, available to low-income seniors, has not increased in over 25 years

• The Seniors Abuse and Information Line (SAIL) received 1,286 calls related to elder abuse in 2014 and 15% of these calls reported the abuse had been going on for five or more years

The information released today will be the baseline for annual comparisons to see if  improvements are  being made.


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