A new panel is being formed to ensure that seniors who helped build the West Shore aren’t shipped out of the community when they need access to essential care.
A 2019 report gave a glimpse into how the West Shore lacks a myriad of the senior-care services – including how Langford and Colwood both have no hospice-care beds.
There’s hope that a vacant, five-acre property in Royal Bay could be developed into a senior care facility that might alleviate some of the community’s elder care shortages.
“The West Shore politicians have made it clear that we need more senior care in the West Shore and the potential purchase of the Royal Bay property is a huge step forward,” said former Colwood mayor Dave Saunders.
An eight-person panel has been formed and will meet in mid-May to discuss the next steps. Their goal will be to create a business model that they can take to the province, and beyond, as they look for funding.
The former mayor said the model will emphasize providing end-of-life and hospice care that will meet the community’s needs.
“Right now is the opportunity for the West Shore to stop being reactionary to the issue of long-term senior care, we all have to become proactive,” Saunders said.
The panel will look into making sure West Shore seniors have access to: long-term, hospice, dementia and end-of-life care, along with independent living and home support.
“How do we support it better, how do we support the business model going forward and how do we as a young region that is expanding, support our loved ones,” Saunders said. “We need the community’s help to do that.”
As the pandemic highlighted cracks in the senior-care system, he knows the public is engaged on the issue like never before.
“We want your ideas, we want your concerns and we want your stories, so we can create the best business case going forward,” Saunders said.
Taking a business approach will be important as Saunders said the province likely won’t be able to fully fund all the needed care projects.
“We’re not saying it’ll be private, we’re not saying it’ll be public, but how do we bring options forward to alleviate funding models that, right now, haven’t achieved the goal of caring for our seniors,” he said. “It’s not fair to see (seniors) build a community, and then be housed outside our community.”
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