Isobel Mackenzie: Seniors’ Advocate for BC: “Whatever age you are, continue to live!”
Our July Speaker, Isobel Mackenzie, has over 20 years’ experience working with seniors in home care, licensed care, community services and volunteer services. In 2014 she accepted the Advocate position which was created as a politically neutral appointment and which cannot be changed without legislation.
The Office of the Seniors Advocate monitors and analyzes seniors’ services and issues in B.C., and makes recommendations to government and service providers to address systemic issues.
There are five key areas which occupy the Office: Health care, proper housing, income support, personal support (gardening, cleaning, etc.) and lastly, transportation.
Some of the issues discussed by Ms.Mackenzie in her presentation were:
- Myth: “The Silver Tsunami” (Senior overpopulation and its costs). Reality: Latest statistics show there are about 850,000 seniors in BC (about 18% of the population); by 2031 there is estimated it will be 24%. Recent data does not support the idea that seniors will be a drain on the economy.
- Ageism: The tendency and prejudice of the younger generation to label all of us as being the same.
- Almost all people will die in their own home rather than in a nursing home or hospital.
- The differences between “mild cognitive impairment” (very common and not serious) vs. Altzheimer’s (far less common but serious)
- The advent, in the near future, of the driver-less car, which will grant many more people the autonomy to stay in their own home.
- The largest single negative issue: “Caregiver distress”.
- How many seniors nowadays are in touch with the world and are engaged in technology.
For more information, call 1-877-952-3181 or go to https://www.seniorsadvocatebc.ca/about/
Isobel received both her undergraduate and graduate degrees from the University of Victoria and has a Certificate in Health Care Leadership from the University of Toronto.