Seniors in need on the rise

Charity calls for partnership with province to address demands of aging population

United Way CEO Michael McKnight.

Seniors in White Rock and South Surrey are among concentrated populations in the Lower Mainland in acute need of support and resources, and the problems will only escalate when the population increases substantially in the near future, according to a United Way report.

The report states that by 2036, the region’s population aged 65 and up is expected to double – with one in four people qualifying as a senior. However, according to Michael McKnight, president and CEO of the United Way in Lower Mainland, the province is not doing enough, as is, for vulnerable seniors and is ill-equipped to handle the increase in the demographic.

“We are not prepared at all,” said McKnight. “Five or six years ago, we stepped back and looked at the leading issues in our province – the ones people recognize and those that aren’t on their radar. With the senior demographic, we saw no leadership on how to be prepared for the fundamental change in our community.”

According to McKnight, the top priority for the United Way is to come up with an integrated strategy addressing the aging population and its needs. However, that strategy will require input and support from the municipal and provincial government, he said.

“It has to be a combination of entities, like many things in B.C., there is no single solution or any particular organization that can solve the issues that are confronting us,” McKnight said.

In the report, there are a number of issues that face the current population of seniors in the region, including economic insecurity, social isolation and inaccessible transportation – one of the biggest problems that seniors face, McKnight said.

Inaccessible transportation can result in a slew of other problems, including isolation, causing mental health issues and physical problems, further straining the public health sector.

The United Way plans to more than double its annual investment for vulnerable seniors in the region to $7 million, but the province needs to step up as well, McKnight said.

“It’s a call to action. We are doubling the money and putting it towards the issues of seniors and we hope we can get the provincial government to the table so we can figure out how to collectively address the issues.”

 

Get local stories you won't find anywhere else right to your inbox.
Sign up here

Just Posted

PHOTOS: Surrey rally supports Mona Wang, calls for wellness check reform

Security camera footage shows Wang being dragged, stepped on during RCMP wellness check at UBCO

Filming applications ‘coming in slowly’ to the City of Surrey

Netflix cancels ‘Sabrina’, but filming manager says new calls coming in to film in Cloverdale

‘Did anything good come out of my son’s overdose death?’ – South Surrey mom

Maggie Plett says action still needed on recovery homes

COVID-19: Daily update on the pandemic in Surrey, White Rock and beyond

JULY 11: B.C.’s COVID-19 job recovery led by tourism, finance

Woman sexually assaulted, robbed near Surrey SkyTrain station: RCMP

Police say the incident happened July 10, just after 11 p.m.

B.C. sees 25 new COVID-19 cases, community exposure tracked

One death, outbreaks remain in two long-term care facilities

B.C. Ferries increasing passenger capacity after COVID-19 restrictions

Transport Canada 50-per-cent limit being phased out, no current plans to provide masks

Once-in-a-lifetime comet photographed soaring over Abbotsford

Photographer Randy Small captures Comet NEOWISE in early-morning sky

Amber Alert for two Quebec girls cancelled after bodies found

Romy Carpentier, 6, Norah Carpentier, 11, and their father, Martin Carpentier, missing since Wednesday

Bringing support to Indigenous students and communities, while fulfilling a dream

Mitacs is a nonprofit organization that operates research and training programs

B.C. man prepares to be first to receive double-hand transplant in Canada

After the surgery, transplant patients face a long recovery

Grocers appear before MPs to explain decision to cut pandemic pay

Executives from three of Canada’s largest grocery chains have defended their decision to end temporary wage increases

Man shot dead in east Abbotsford suburbs

Integrated Homicide Investigative Team called to investigate

RCMP ‘disappointed’ by talk that race a factor in quiet Rideau Hall arrest

Corey Hurren, who is from Manitoba, is facing 22 charges

Most Read

l -->