BC Seniors Advocate Isobel Mackenzie is calling on all northern volunteers to join its Quality of Life survey team.
This is the second time the office has launched the survey – the first one since 2016-17 with the goal of reaching all 29-thousand seniors in care.
Mackenzie outlines the two reasons why they are doing this.
“Tell us what your life is like on a day-to-day basis in this care home, what things are or aren’t so we can see how we can improve the conditions in long-term care. But, the other reason why it’s important is that we are asking people, the ones who live in long-term care. Their opinions matter.”
“The act of asking I believe is equally important to the information we are going to get when we hear from people.”
Mackenzie added this can be a very rewarding experience for anyone who helps out.
“The people who volunteer, feel the contribution and feel they are making life better for our most vulnerable but some of them were incredibly touched by the stories they heard and the friendships they were able to strike.”
Even the Seniors Advocate interviewed someone from one of the facilities based in Vancouver stating it was a pretty good experience.
“You know, the person I interviewed had the most fascinating life story you ever heard. He was a musician that played on cruise ships and was the background for Boz Scaggs it was an incredible life story to tell me while he was also letting me know his thoughts on long-term care.”
Lastly, with the impacts of the pandemic slowly fading away, she expects life for seniors to improve in the not-too-distant future.
“There has been a focus that’s resulted in some new resources and staffing, some things that I hope will make significant improvements in the years ahead. The improvements we see today aren’t quite there yet but I am hopeful we will see them in a couple of years.”
“We are getting a little bit back to normal but we are not as completely back to normal as many of us would want to see,” added Mackenzie.
Most of the people living in long-term care today were not living there at the start of the pandemic. Every year, just over a third of BC’s long-term care population are new admissions while other residents move on according to Mackenzie.
Mackenzie hopes to have the survey done by the spring.
Volunteers will ask residents a variety of questions like the care they receive, security, along with visits with family and friends.
Anyone interested volunteers will be screened for suitability, and undergo a criminal record check and references after calling 2-1-1.