PENINSULA ZOOMERS: Age-old problem continues

Seniors concerns are important election issues, writes columnist April Lewis

Will you still need me, will you still feed me, when I’m sixty-four!

With apologies to the Beatles, make that when I’m 65.

Here we go again.

It seemed liked yesterday my column Truth on age-old problem (May 3, 2012) was published, where I was bemoaning the fact I was turning 60.

Now suddenly I am turning 65 this month.

I used to get a kick out of lying about my age at the movie theatre and paying the senior rate. I even bragged about it live on a local radio talk show only to have listeners phone in, appalled. And rightly so, as I do represent CARP. Bad karma.

Now what am I going to do to amuse myself once I step over that threshold?

According to Stats Canada, there are more Canadians 65 and over than under 15. As of 2015, there were 5,780,900 Canadians over the age of 65, or 16.1 per cent of Canada’s population. Yes, we baby boomers are babies no more.

There is the myth that all seniors are house-rich, play golf all day and are endlessly travelling and spending their kids’ inheritance. Yes, there are well-off retirees in B.C.

But not everyone.

A study, Poverty and Inequality Among British Columbia’s Seniors from the Canadian Centre for PolicyAlternatives, shows half of B.C.’s seniors live on $25,000 a year or less.

The report states that poverty among seniors rose from 2.2 per cent in 1996 to 12.7 per cent in 2014.

In B.C. the Office of the Seniors Advocate regularly researches and reports on systemic issues which affect seniors. These reports highlight key issues facing seniors and make recommendations to governments.

And you can do the same.

The provincial election is weeks away and it is seniors who get out to vote.

In 2017, CARP continues to be the leading advocate for improved financial and health care security.

Here are the top five issues CARP will be tackling:

Surgical Wait Times: The aim is reduce wait times, which are currently unacceptable.

Homecare: Access to home-care is vital for aging Canadians. CARP is calling for the federal Liberals to honour their pledge for $3 billion in funding.

Caregivers: 80 per cent of care is provided annually by 8 million informal, unpaid caregivers. CARP wants a refundable tax credit and caregiver’s allowance.

Investor Protection: Canadians worry about outliving their money and CARP will fight to keep your money in your hands and this includes eliminating mandatory RRIF withdrawals.

Elder Abuse: CARP wants mandatory reporting for this type of abuse, which impacts 800,000 seniors every year.

Tell your politicians to keep you comfortable and financially secure. Vote!

As for me, I’ll celebrate turning 65 by paying less for my property taxes, applying for an ICBC rebate, taking a ferry and going to a movie.

To balance my karma, I’ll pay the adult rate for my ticket!

April Lewis is the local communications director for CARP.

 

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