The Ministry of Health is supporting improved transportation for seniors to help them maintain meaningful social connections and independence in their local communities.
“Lack of access to transportation can increase social isolation, undermine an individual’s ability to complete daily activities ranging from grocery shopping, health appointments and engaging in community programs that improve mental and physical well-being. That’s why we are taking steps to resolve this barrier,” said Adrian Dix, Minister of Health. “This announcement is the first of several steps to support and enhance the work non-profit organizations do to help seniors live better, healthier lives in community. This reflects Premier John Horgan’s strong commitment to seniors in B.C.”
The Province is providing approximately $1.23 million through regional health authorities to 13 community organizations throughout British Columbia for projects that improve transportation services for seniors.
Community groups will purchase 12 buses and vans and make other improvements to existing transportation services for seniors to help them age in place, stay physically active and socially engaged.
“Seniors are the hearts of our communities and they deserve to get the support they need to live the healthiest lives possible,” said Anne Kang, Parliamentary Secretary for Seniors and Multiculturalism. “By increasing transportation options within the community, seniors will better be able to live independent lives and stay physically and socially active.”
In the coming weeks, the Ministry of Health will announce further supports for seniors throughout all health authorities. For example, Northern Health is providing $300,000 to three community organizations for new programs that improve access to healthy foods, social connections and recreation activities in Dawson Creek, Prince George and Smithers.
Supporting seniors’ transportation and social programs is part of government’s commitment to strengthen the supports and services available to seniors. Government is investing $1.018 billion over three years to improve care for seniors, including investments in primary care, home health, long-term care and assisted living. This includes $75 million over the next three years to expand respite care and adult day programs and $240 million over three years to increase staffing levels in long-term care homes, with the goal of achieving 3.36 direct care hours per resident day – on average – across all health authorities by the end of 2020-21.
- In 2019, 19% of B.C.’s population is over 65, and in 15 years this percentage is expected to rise to 25%.
- Archway Community Services, formally known as Abbotsford Community Services Society – Received $70,000 to purchase a 15-seater hybrid bus for the society to replace the old bus.
- Seniors Services Society – Received $40,000 to contribute to purchasing a new bus, which costs $115,000.
- Capilano Community Services Society – Received $150,000 to purchase a new bus to replace the 10-year-old bus that is no longer reliable. The society also intends to expand their service level into new areas of the North Shore.
- Collingwood Neighbourhood House Society – Received $150,000 to purchase a new bus to drive seniors to appointments, social visits and outings.
- West End Seniors Network – Received $150,000 for the expansion of the Life Unlimited program to include geographical areas not currently receiving the program’s services and broadening the medical appointment transportation and accompaniment service to include activities and social engagement opportunities.
- Chase Community Services Society – Received $115,000 to purchase and operate a bus to provide transportation to seniors.
- Scw’exmx Community Health Services Society – Received $115,000 to purchase a bus to provide transportation to seniors in the community, especially the frail elderly.
- Eagle Valley Transportation Society – Received $98,000 to purchase a bus to provide seniors with essential transport services, including doctors' appointments, scheduled surgical procedures at hospitals, optometrists' appointments, cancer treatments and more. The bus is already in use.
- Kamloops Indigenous Friendship Society – Received $2,000 to purchase heavy-duty aluminum steps to assist with van access.
- West Boundary Senior Housing Society – Received $115,000 to purchase a bus to provide transportation to seniors in the community.
- OneSky Community Resources – Received $55,000 to purchase a bus to provide transportation to seniors for socialization, respite and to reduce isolation. The bus is already in service.
- Wheels for Wellness – Received $105,000 to purchase three vans to expand transportation services across the Island Health region.
- Nanaimo Legion Branch 256 – Received $60,000 to purchase a small van to support transportation of seniors, both members and non-members of the legion, to attend medical appointments, social events and sessions that provide information and education, which support seniors to live in the community.
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