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OUR VIEW: Surrey’s elderly residents deserve better

We do not want to be a society that abandons its elderly
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Might want to pay attention to this one because if you’re lucky enough to not suffer an untimely death, you’re going to get old.

Health Minister Adrian Dix, during a luncheon hosted last week by the Surrey Board of Trade, shared some sobering information on the kinds of things elderly Surrey residents will confront in the relatively near future if government and society doesn’t get its act together.

Dix noted that the number of Surrey residents over the age of 80 is expected to increase by 230 per cent in 20 years – to 44,000 from 12,000 – and the number of residents over the age of 60 is expected to double.

READ ALSO: Health minister says Surrey will need better long-term care services as population ages

And what that means is Surrey will need to have better long-term care to meet this demand. Long-term care, Dix noted, “hasn’t received historically enough attention,” and that needs to change.

The trouble is, the city is not even keeping up with today’s demand. When Dix became health minister after the 2017 provincial election, residents in Surrey care homes received 40 minutes less per day of direct care than that prescribed by the provincial government and three of its care homes were the lowest funded in B.C.

This situation has marginally improved, but still, the continuing gap in services also has an impact on younger people, too.

As Dix noted, “You need to provide long-term care or your acute care hospitals inevitably become long-term care homes.”

The bottom line is government needs to fix this situation to avoid a snowballing lack of care for elderly Surreyites who’ve spent the better part of their lives building this city, contributing through paying taxes for one.

We do not want to be a society that abandons its elderly.


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