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Office of the Seniors Advocate Monthly Update – July 2023

Activities of the Office of the Seniors Advocate

New Report Release – It’s Time to Act: A Review of Assisted Living in B.C.

Following a comprehensive review of the province’s assisted living sector, the BC Seniors Advocate is calling on government to address the current confusing legislative landscape to protect seniors from significant rent and service fee increases, improve oversight and reporting, and address affordability challenges.

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B.C. Seniors Week 2023

BC Seniors Advocate Isobel Mackenzie and Lieutenant Governor of British Columbia Janet Austin launched Seniors’ Week 2023 with a garden party at Government House to honour local seniors who volunteer in their communities. The Seniors Advocate then traveled through the Okanagan and Interior regions to connect with seniors and their loved ones in person.

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World Elder Abuse Awareness Day 2023

World Elder Abuse Awareness Day is marked on June 15 each year to raise awareness, prevent and respond to abuse and neglect of seniors.

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OSA Long-Term Care Survey Update

As we get closer to our goal of approaching every resident in long-term care in BC, we continue to reflect on the mosaic of experiences that we are accumulating. Read about the experiences of residents, surveyors, project team members and care home staff.

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Current Issues and Resources

Struggling Senior Homeowners Encouraged to Defer Property Taxes

BC Seniors Advocate Isobel Mackenzie is urging senior homeowners struggling with the rising costs of living and aging to consider deferring their 2023 property taxes.

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BC Farmers’ Markets Coupons

Farmers’ Market Coupons are available for B.C. seniors again this year. Each household enrolled will receive at least $27/week in coupons to spend on fresh food at their local farmers’ market. Markets do not give out coupons directly to participants. You must get in touch with a local community partner to enroll in the program.

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BC Demographics Survey

B.C. residents are invited to participate in the BC Demographics Survey to identify systemic racism and other forms of institutional discrimination. The survey aims to make government services more equitable and inclusive.

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COVID-19 Boosters and Flu Shots

The Province is continuing to roll out its COVID-19 vaccination booster campaign. Boosters are currently being offered to people in long-term care, seniors 80 years and older, Indigenous seniors 70 years and older, and people who are immunocompromised. Eligible individuals who received their last dose six months ago will receive invitation via the Get Vaccinated System

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COVID-19 Rapid Antigen Tests

Free COVID-19 rapid antigen tests are available to people of all ages at B.C. pharmacies. No ID is required. If you are concerned about exposure to COVID-19, please consider asking people you will be in close contact with to take a rapid test before your visit.

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Long-Term Care update

Visitor restrictions at long-term care and assisted living sites have been lifted, including proof of vaccination, rapid antigen testing and universal mask wearing.

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Provincial News

Recent Announcements from the B.C. Government Impacting Seniors

June 1, 2023 Joint statement on Intergenerational Day
June 5, 2023 Parliamentary secretary’s statement on B.C. Seniors’ Week
June 6, 202 Mission apartment complex revitalized for residents’ safety, comfort
June 7, 2023 Residential Tenancy Branch offers service in more than 200 languages
June 7, 2023 More than 250 rental homes underway in Vancouver
June 8, 2023 New homes for seniors, families now open in Kaslo
June 17, 2023 Farmers’ market coupon program harvests healthy habits
June 21, 2023 Premier’s, minister’s statement on National Indigenous Peoples Day
June 22, 2023 New long-term care home coming to Richmond
June 23, 2023 New long-term care home coming to Abbotsford
June 28, 2023 Provincial booking system for appointments with pharmacists going live

National News

Recent Announcements from the Federal Government Impacting Seniors

June 15, 2023 Minister of Seniors, Kamal Khera, marks World Elder Abuse Awareness Day
June 21, 2023 Government of Canada takes next step in procurement process for long-term Canadian Dental Care Plan

Recent Research

Prioritizing supports and services to help older adults age in place: A Delphi study comparing the perspectives of family/friend care partners and healthcare stakeholders

(PLoS One)

Aging in place (AIP) is a policy strategy designed to help older adults remain in their communities. While planners internationally have modified aspects of the older adult care continuum (e.g., home care, assisted living, nursing homes) to facilitate AIP, further improvements to community-based supports and services are also required. This study compared and contrasted the community-based factors (e.g., supports, services and personal strategies or characteristics) that family/friend care partners and healthcare stakeholders (i.e., planners/providers) view as most important to help older adults successfully AIP.

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Did We Expect Too Much Of Rural Age-friendly Initiatives? Studying the Sustainability and Scope of a Rural Canadian Age-friendly Program

(Journal of Rural and Community Development)

Understanding the sustainability of age-friendly initiatives is timely, given the interest of governments worldwide in age-friendly policy and programs. Focusing on expert perspectives from 11 rural communities in Newfoundland and Labrador, this study examines how limitations to the sustainability of rural age-friendly initiatives (at both the committee and program level) may affect systemic community change.

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Rates of health services use among residents of retirement homes in Ontario: a population-based cohort study

(Canadian Medical Association Journal)

Because there are no standardized reporting systems specific to residents of retirement homes in North America, little is known about the health of this distinct population of older adults. We evaluated rates of health services use by residents of retirement homes relative to those of residents of long-term care homes and other populations of older adults.

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Outreach by the OSA

Seniors Advocate Isobel Mackenzie continues to meet with seniors across the province, attend events and deliver presentations both in person and virtually. If you would like to invite her to present at your event, please contact our office at Please note Isobel has announced she will retire after March 31, 2024, therefore our office is not be accepting invitations for events after this date at this time.

The Office of the Seniors Advocate has an information and referral line that is available 24 hours a day, every day. Our senior service specialists will work with you during our office hours to provide resources and help resolve issues. Staff at BC211 will assist after hours

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