Seniors Advocate seeking feedback at Trail meeting

Isobel Mckenzie will be at the Trail Legion for two hours on Friday

Seniors and their family members living in the Trail area have a golden opportunity to have their voices heard on a provincial scale this week, when the B.C. Seniors Advocate visits the city.

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Isobel Mackenzie, British Columbia’s appointed Seniors Advocate, is holding a public meeting titled, “Challenges Facing B.C. Seniors,” on Friday, Sept. 20, from 1:30 p.m. to 3:30 p.m. at the Trail Legion.

“You are invited to meet the Advocate and let her know what is working and not working for seniors in this community,” says Theresa Buchner from the Society for the Protection and Care of Seniors, a Greater Trail advocacy group.

“Isobel McKenzie is a wealth of knowledge, she’s been gathering data from across B.C.” Buchner explained.

“She is in a position to (give this) feedback to people who can do something about it, she has some political clout.”

The meeting will open with Mackenzie talking about her role, and the insight she’s gained from listening to thousands of seniors’ and their families over the past six years.

As well, she’ll be touching on upcoming projects and her monitoring activities.

“I think one of the really important things is not just to hear what she has to say, and talk about concerns, but also that she collects information everywhere she goes. So you will get an opportunity to speak to her and tell her some of your concerns,” Buchner said.

“And there will be time for a question and answer period. So if people don’t go to the meeting, then they won’t get these opportunities.”

Buchner initially became active in the Greater Trail society as a way to champion for her mother’s well being.

Experience, however, has taught her that “If you take care of the seniors, then everybody else follows.”

“When I first started, I joined because my mom was a senior and I was trying to do things that would help her,” she shared. “What I have realized from working with the Society for the Protection and Care of Seniors is that so many of these things actually have direct impacts on all ages,” Buchner said.

“It makes it better for everybody because the things that come up as concerns for seniors, really carry through to all ages.”

For those who do attend the Trail session and have a question in mind, Buchner encourages the question to be succinct.

“She knows the challenges people are actually facing and is putting them out there in a manner that everyone can see and understand,” Buchner concluded. “There are a lot of reports available and I encourage seniors and their family members to look them up.”

The Government of British Columbia announced the appointment of Isobel Mackenzie as Canada’s first Seniors Advocate in March 2014.

As the voice of seniors, her broad mandate is to monitor and review system-wide issues affecting the well-being of seniors and raise awareness about resources available to them.

Mackenzie also makes recommendations to government and those who deliver seniors’ services related to health care, personal care, housing, transportation and income support.

Her office is located in Victoria.

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