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Care hubs to be discussed in Kelowna for seniors

Creating Communities of Care: Kelowna Forum is underway

Discussions are taking place to establish care hubs for seniors across B.C.

The BC Care Providers Association has brought together leaders from the seniors’ care sector, public transportation, non-profit housing, health authorities, First Nations and municipal governments, planners and the Ministry of Health for a unique dialogue to reimagine how seniors’ care is integrated into B.C.’s cities and towns, according to the association’s news release.

Creating Communities of Care: Kelowna Forum is being conducted in conjunction with supporting partners BC Housing, TransLink, Stantec and BMO. Participants include representatives from Vancouver Coastal and Interior Health authorities, the City of Kelowna, as well as academic representation from UBC Okanagan.

“In towns and cities across B.C. today, seniors’ care homes are too often located on the fringes of communities, cut off from amenities and services which might be used by seniors in care and other members of the public,” says Daniel Fontaine, BCCPA, CEO. “Now let’s imagine communities where our elderly population form the heart of bustling communities, with transportation and services in place to better connect seniors and their family members. This is the goal of this innovative dialogue — to establish more care hubs across B.C.”

RELATED: Lonely seniors club addresses need for senior activities in Kelowna

Social isolation is just one of many challenges seniors face that causes health impacts and preventable burden to our health care system. A community of care will help to keep families and loved ones better connected, happier and healthier as our population ages, the release said.

“It is forecasted that Canada’s median age will increase over the next 15 years where up to one-quarter of all Canadians will be over the age of 65,” adds Fontaine. “A dialogue is needed today to prepare our big cities, suburban neighbourhoods, and rural communities for the stresses of an aging society by improving mobility, housing availability, and access to needed services. This dialogue will be as much about seniors and their families, as it will be about the workers who support them.”

READ MORE: Survey finds seniors’ care shortfalls

While the notion of a care hub is not intended to be prescriptive, there is one central factor – seniors care homes acts as the centre for the delivery of a wide range of seniors’ services. The care hub may exist as a campus of care or be managed in collaboration by a network of care homes. In some cases, services are co-located, but in other instances, they may exist separately as part of a formal integrated network.

No exhaustive list of services exists, rather what defines a care hub is limited only by creativity. Care hub services may include medical and health services – such as primary care, chronic disease management, rehabilitation, sub-acute care, and more – along with non-medical supports such as adult day/night programs, non-profit services, and amenities available to the general public such as restaurants, daycare, theaters, pubs, senior-friendly transit options and senior drop-in centres. Some models may even integrate on-site housing for workers.

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