Michael Dailly

COLUMN: It’s time to prepare for BC’s silver tsunami

In 1963 Martin Luther King Jr. wrote “In a real sense all life is inter-related. All men are caught in an inescapable network of mutuality.”

In 1963 Martin Luther King Jr. wrote “In a real sense all life is inter-related. All men are caught in an inescapable network of mutuality, tied in a single garment of destiny.”

As the leader of the civil rights movement he was referring to the right to be treated with dignity and the right to equality of opportunity. His words are no less true today and can be applied to the issues and challenges our elderly currently face.

In the February edition of the Columbia Basin Rural Development Institute’s newsletter, the RDI Focus, there is a report that “over the period 2011-15, Nelson’s population has grown four per cent, an increase of 431 residents. Even more notable than this growth is the change in population structure. The number of seniors (65 and over) in our region is now approaching the number of youth (under 25 years of age).”

Our population of seniors is expected to grow by over 40 per cent in the next 20 years. These projections have important consequences for our community, and we need to begin to prepare for these aging baby boomers.Recent news stories have raised the alarm dubbing the growing seniors population the “silver tsunami.” BC’s new seniors advocate, Isobel Mackenzie, has said the shift is slow and there is time to prepare.

I don’t agree. I think that the time for action is now. Our transportation systems, affordable housing stock and health care facilities are already stressed and insufficient. We need to act now to expand capacity, build resiliency and add the flexibility needed to accommodate the growing demand for these services. We need to support seniors to be as healthy and independent as possible.

If we want to make certain we have the resources in place that allow us the dignity to live out our lives with the supports we will require. We must adopt a culture of getting involved now. One way of becoming part of the solution is by volunteering to help ourselves and others while we are still able.

Opportunities to get involved include:

The Age Friendly Community Initiative, a project lead by Nelson CARES Society which aims to create programs,enhance existing services and strengthen the community’s capacity to meet the needs of our growing seniors population. See nelsoncares.ca.

Nelson and Area Learning in Retirement, a group for those 50-plus who want to “step out of old patterns and habits, try new things by joining a group of companions who have fun in learning.” See selkirk.ca/ce/courses/learning-retirement.

Tech Support for Seniors at the Learning Place (lower level City Hall). Offered by the Columbia Basin forLiteracy. See cbal.org.

Seniors Coordinating Society, which helps seniors navigate government programs and filling out forms including income tax returns. They also offer information about home help services such as cleaning, laundry,light cooking, and respite care. See nelsonseniors.ca.

The West Kootenay seniors transportation coordinator who assists seniors with exploring transportation options such as transit, HandyDart, Rideshare, Carshare, and volunteer driver programs. See kootenayseniors.ca.

I encourage everyone to get busy with the rewarding work of creating the kind of community that you want to grow old in, because time is ticking for all of us.

The World Health Organization describes an Age Friendly Community as an “inclusive and accessible one that allows people to realize their potential for physical, social, and mental well-being throughout their lives, while providing them with adequate protection, security and care when needed.” Working together helping each other we all benefit by being a caring community. Life has a way of coming full circle. This too is part of our shared destiny.

Nelson city councillor Michael Dailly shares this space weekly with his council colleagues.

Just Posted

South Slocan woman killed in Friday crash

Police continue to investigate cause of fatal crash

Ammonia leak shuts down Nelson Curling Club

It’s not yet clear when the leak was detected

Four points for Fawcett as Leafs win 7th straight

Nelson edged the Fernie Ghostriders 4-3

What’s Up: Things to see and do on Family Day

There’s plenty of fun to be had across the West Kootenay this coming long weekend!

Seven Nelson rec projects granted Columbia Basin Trust funding

Nelson’s baseball and tennis clubs were the big winners

Trudeau’s principal secretary, Gerald Butts, resigns amid SNC-Lavalin furor

Butts categorically denies the accusation that he or anyone else in the PMO improperly pressured former attorney general Jody Wilson-Raybould

Lost a ring? This B.C. man will find it for you

Chris Turner founded The Ring Finders, an international directory of metal detector hobbyists

Poverty coalition has high hopes for B.C. poverty reduction strategy

Funding allocation expected to be released with 2019 budget

East Kootenay mine deaths prompt safety initiatives

Teck produces educational video, introduces new procedures after contractor drowns at Fording River

‘How did we get here?’: B.C. mom of transplant recipient worries about measles outbreaks

Addison, 7, cannot get a live vaccine because she has a heart transplant

Bashful Balladeers bring voices to Vernon

Despite hiding behind masks, talent shines with this group

NDP Leader Jagmeet Singh calls for public inquiry over SNC-Lavalin questions

Vancouver member of Parliament Jody Wilson-Raybould resigned from cabinet last week

Canadian airlines waiting for guidance from Ottawa over X gender option

Major U.S. airlines said they will change their process so passengers can identify themselves along non-binary lines

Moose Hide campaign takes message to Canadian schools

Campaign launches new K-12 education platform

Most Read