An editorial by Mel Rothenburger.
IT’S NOT EASY getting old; ask any senior.
The City of Kamloops wants to find out what’s needed to make life better for the older generation so it will commission a $25,000 study — courtesy of a provincial grant — to find out.
It will probably come back with a report that says seniors need more housing, better access to health care, and somewhere to get together.
But if it concludes that the answer to housing is to build more long-term care facilities, it will be a failure. COVID has proven that simply warehousing seniors doesn’t work; there needs to be a total rethinking of how they’re sheltered.
And if it says the answer to healthcare is cheaper drugs and more doctors, without explaining how to achieve that, it will fail again.
As for recreation, if the report recommends building a place where seniors can sit around and play cards, it will fail yet again. They need active recreation. Not every senior can run or swim in the 55-plus Games but many can, or at least be much more than couch potatoes.
And they need opportunities to continue working if they want to. A study released in the past few days shows that people who retire to a sedentary lifestyle die sooner than those who keep working.
What seniors need is ease of transportation when the inevitable day comes to give up their driver’s licences. That’s the day they lose the most important thing they have — their independence.
That includes keeping their own homes and having ways to get where they need to go.
Even more than that, though, seniors need something no study can give them — respect. They aren’t excess baggage. They aren’t an expense to be tolerated. They aren’t people to be disregarded or belittled.
Sadly, the paltry $25,000 designated for this study barely buys an executive summary these days, and once again shows how little we value our seniors.
I’m Mel Rothenburger, the Armchair Mayor.
Mel Rothenburger is a former mayor of Kamloops and a retired newspaper editor. He is a regular contributor to CFJC Today, publishes the ArmchairMayor.ca opinion website, and is a director on the Thompson-Nicola Regional District board. He can be reached at email@example.com.