The province is dedicating $75 million over three years to help friends and family care for seniors at home. (File photo)

B.C. announces $75M to help friends, family care for seniors at home

Funding will go towards respite care and adult day programs

Families and friends struggling to care for aging seniors at home will receive a $75 million boost, health minister Adrian Dix announced Monday.

The funds will go towards increasing the amount of respite care and adult day program spots available.

Respite services are provided at home through home-support services in the community, through adult day programs, or on a short-term basis in a long-term care facility, hospice or other community care setting.

“The number of respite beds will increase and overnight care at home will be made more accessible. The number of adult day program spaces will increase and the hours of operation will be expanded to provide services on evenings and weekends,” said Dix.

“There are approximately one million family-and-friend caregivers in the province who help seniors with daily activities ranging from a ride to the grocery store and medical appointments to assistance with activities such as housekeeping and yard work, managing finances… and providing personal care.”

READ MORE: B.C. seniors’ poverty rate highest in Canada: report

READ MORE: Transit options exist but gaps remain for seniors with cognitive, mobility needs

Monday’s funding, which will roll out over three years, will help the approximately 31 per cent of seniors whose primary caregivers were “in distress,” as identified in a 2017 report from the Office of the Seniors Advocate.

“Many caregivers are themselves reporting symptoms of distress such as anger and depression,” said Dix.

Seniors Advocate Isobel Mackenzie called the new cash “meaningful” to caregivers and could mean the difference between an aging parent staying home and one being sent to a care home.

“Think about what [the funding] is going to mean if you’re struggling at home with your loved one, who probably has some cognitive impairment, and you’re just frustrated beyond belief that you know that once a month for a full week you get it totally to yourself [thanks to respite care],” said Mackenzie.


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