Several years ago it was my honour to have been invited to become a member of a volunteer, non-profit organization known as Connected Communities (CC) as a representative of the Nakusp Region.
Although I have not been able to attend weekend afternoon meetings in person owing to the lengthy and sometimes challenging winter driving distance and conditions between Nakusp and Nelson or Castlegar, I still believe there is a role to play. Where meetings are generally held, this health watch group kindly allows me to remain informed and to participate digitally.
I receive the minutes of the CC meetings for my own information, and my input and updates concerning aspects of our health system as interpreted through Interior Health Authority, have been occasionally shared and welcomed over the years.
A representative of the Kaslo area CC group that I have found to be both interesting and applicable to Nakusp region residents as well had forwarded a portion of a report concerning the importance of community input to me.
The conclusion of a study undertaken by CC at the time charges, “Seniors and the disabled are the most at risk from the changes,” leading to a crisis that has taken place within the most vulnerable sectors of today’s society.
The following is a brief partial summary of the report’s findings:
People living on disability or old age pensions are penalized the most when home support, home nursing and community services are cut or significantly reduced. Owing to living on a fixed pension, these individuals are least able to afford additional private sector services in order to keep them living comfortably and safely within their own homes.
Limited incomes can mean patients cannot always afford their prescription medications.
Seniors often have to travel out of town in order to access programs such as those concerning chronic disease management.
Those aged 75 years and over are the least familiar with computers and therefore may not be able to download benefit forms as well as information about health issues in general
In next week’s column I will present further information concerning the problems and risks being taken by patients who must drive long distances in order to access medical services including the substantial costs associated with their quest.
Special thanks extended to Sally Williams of the Kaslo CC unit for providing the report and associated findings which greatly assisted me in pointing out the realities which most of us must someday deal with in our own lives unless we, as older citizens, take responsibility for expressing our concerns.