Later Life Ramblings: Accessing services

Shirley Lowe has been a long time advocate for seniors' issues

Shirley Lowe

The beginning of life as a senior officially starts at age 55 with retirement planned from 60 – 70 years.  It is a bit of a jolt to be recognized as a senior and it reminds us how fast time flies.  For some it means speeding up the exercise regime and vowing to care for our health.  This works for the fortunate, but through the later years many are burdened with health issues. Trying to sort available resources can be challenging, particularly in the early days of health or housing needs.

The Provincial Government provide a B.C. Seniors Guide book that is filled with information on how to access all government resources, from bus passes to crisis intervention. Call Service B.C. at 1.800.663.7867 or www.seniorsbc.ca to get a copy. There is also a blue Seniors Services Directory (a community resource handbook for the Capital Region) from Seniors Serving Seniors. They can be contacted at 250-382-4331. These books are of great benefit as they have all services in one place.

The B.C. Ministry of Health – Home and Community Care provide a variety of services for the South Island to Port Renfrew. They will supply care in your home depending on needs and eligibility.  This can be a referral from the doctor or call general enquiries 250-388-2273 or toll free 1-888-533-2273 for information.

I have learned that the Island Health Adult Day Program in Sooke can only be accessed through a case manager and are no longer at Ayre Manor Lodge.  For those requiring assisted living or residential care call the Central Intake phone 250-388-2210 for an assessment of needs. A case manager will be assigned and a health care team will come to the home and plan the best solution.

Most services can be subsidized if required.                                                                                       When home care is no longer an option we have our local Ayre Manor Residential Care Home with cottages, private suites, great care and nourishing food. Demand is high so it is good to plan as far ahead as possible.                                                                                                                                         Beacon Home Services, Nurse Next Door and others offer private care or companionship. They are listed in the directories.  We are fortunate the system tries hard to meet our needs but it is up to us to ask for the help.                                                                                                                            There is a new program – Patients as Partners/Patients Voices Network – a Ministry of Health initiative for feedback from people who have used the health system. Sign up if you have some solutions, complaints or ideas to help with health care planning. www.patientsasparners.ca/network

Confusius said: “Old age is a good and pleasant thing – It is true you are gently shouldered off the stage, but then you are given a comfortable front seat as a spectator.”  ENJOY THE RIDE!

Shirley Lowe