COMMENT: Larson talks aging in BC, organic farming
Fall is definitely here, and I hope everyone had a good summer. Each month, I will be sharing issues and challenges facing our government as our population ages, and some of the progress being made to address those issues. All of you are aware that over the next 20 years there will be even greater numbers of seniors needing health-related services, and that it will not be possible, given our smaller workforce, to keep funding health care at the current rate.
There is a new guide called “My Voice: Expressing my wishes for future health care treatment,” available online at www.gov.bc.ca/healthyaging, to help you and your family with advanced planning on aging and health care. Decisions made early about your housing, transportation and other areas of care will help you avoid making difficult choices when there may be fewer options.
There are questions you need to address now. What will you do when you can no longer drive? Do you live where there is a public transportation system? Is there an alternative method of transportation in your community? What if you fall or have a mild stroke? Is your home wheelchair accessible? Each year one in three seniors will experience at least one fall accounting for 85% of all injuries to seniors over 65.
What if your spouse or partner dies or can no longer physically live with you? What other support system or family do you have that you can rely on?
What can you do now to ensure you stay healthy longer? How will you stay connected to your community and continue to do all the things you currently enjoy?
At the age of 55 or 60, we do not like to think about these issues, but it is better to sit down with family and talk about it now than to wait until a crisis happens later in life. I would encourage all of you to start having these discussions early, and access the wide range of resources our province has made available.
My role as Parliamentary Secretary for Seniors has afforded me the opportunity to raise awareness for these issues, and I look forward to continuing my work with the Ministry of Health. In our riding, as your MLA, there have also been several developments that I would like to discuss.
My heart goes out to the people of Grand Forks, the mayor, council and staff as they work through the issue surrounding the fire at the town hall. I know they continue to serve the community from their temporary space, while the damage is repaired. A special thanks to the wide-awake neighbour who prevented further damage, and the quick response of the Fire Department.
On a more positive note, this is harvest time for our beautiful area. From apples, to pumpkins, to grapes – it is a busy time for all. Recognition for the hard work of our agriculture industry continues to come our way with the proclamation of Organic Farming Week in BC, just another way that government acknowledges the value and quality of the food we eat and the people who grow it. We also have a strong cattle industry in our area, and I’m looking forward to seeing a B.C. beef brand take up more space in our stores in the future.
Thanks to all the volunteers from recent community events, including the Rock Creek Fair and the Keremeos Pepper Festival, who work hard to bring attention to our agriculture industry.