Society aims for answers

By Cavelle Layes

A local seniors group is sick of hearing politicians talk about what they think seniors want, rather than listening to their real concerns.

Isabelle Allen is the chair of the Interior BC Council on Aging Society, a group who came together to ensure local seniors have their voices heard.

"We felt there was a lack of good information on how people were being served, so we got together," Allen said.

While the idea of having someone who would speak on real senior's issues was popular, it wasn't as easy to find a place for them to fit in.

"We tried to present the idea to various groups but no one was terribly interested," Allen said. " Especially when people are so used to doing what they are doing, no one wants to change that."

The group members were not going to let this set back deter their idea of providing a louder and more educated voice for seniors, and so, their own unique group was created.

"It started with the idea of what the government thinks seniors need and want, isn't always true," Allen said.

After talking to seniors in the area, it became obvious there were some frustrations.

"A lot of studies and information are out there, but seniors don't think anyone is taking them serious," Allen said.

To fix this issue, the Council on Aging Society plans to actually talk to seniors, hear their concerns, their ideas, and what it is they would like.

Allen said there are a few concerns that seem to be repeatedly popping up, and local seniors would like to see them made into more of a concern for politicians.

"A major thing is the whole help with assisting people to stay in their homes," she said, noting that there seems to be misunderstanding out there, that seniors want to be in senior's homes.

"Sometimes it doesn't mean their own homes, it might not be possible, but to help people live where they can live out their lives in comfort and enjoyment."

This is where the Council on Aging Society comes in. The group will be talking to seniors, sending our surveys, and are now trying to expand into outside rural areas such as Chase.

Allen once lived in Chase until medical issues and lack of resources in the small area forced her and her husband to move. It is based on her own experience, which she understands that sometimes seniors in rural areas need a little extra help.

She noted cancer patients who need to travel to Kelowna for treatment, but have no form of transportation, or others who require specialists located in Kamloops.

"These people don't necessarily want to move," Allen said, "but some feel like they need to." This is the type of issues she believes politicians should be looking at.

The Council on Aging Society does not support any particular political group, Allen stressed. They simply want to give seniors a place to address their real concerns, and allow them to educate those in power on what they are.


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