Frank Gobrecht, a Penticton senior, shares some of his concerns with the Minister for Seniors, Filomena Tassi, during her visit to the Penticton Seniors Drop-In Centre on July 5. (Brennan Phillips - Western News)

Minister for Seniors drops into the Penticton Seniors Drop-In Centre

Visit is part of Filomena Tassi’s tour of Canada to hear concerns facing seniors

The Minister for Seniors visited the Okanagan to hear what issues are most important to them.

Her stops included the Seniors Drop-In Centre in Penticton, where the Minister for Seniors Filomena Tassi toured the facility, joined in for a spot of dancing, and spent some time listening and responding to the concerns of local seniors. As part of a nationwide tour, there are a number of issues that have been shared between communities.

“There’s a number of different areas that have been expressed to me as a concern for seniors,” said Tassi. “Those include income security, as was mentioned [here] today; affordable housing; elder isolation; elder abuse and elder fraud; and access to healthcare.”

Tassi was given a tour of the facility. From the crafts room to the dance floor to the pool tables and kitchen, she was shown the activities available to seniors who come to the centre.

After the tour, she spent a half hour listening to some of the concerns facing local seniors.

Affordability of necessary medication as well as for activities was a major concern among the seniors the minister spoke with. It was also an issue she was ready to address.

“I want to assure that the government absolutely does not want seniors, or any Canadians, cutting bills, or not taking pills, or having to make a decision on whether they pay for food or their drugs,” Tassi said to the concerned senior. “Establishing a Canadian Drug Agency, which we’ve done, is estimated that’s going to save an estimated $3 billion for the purchase of drugs a year. But it’s a step. A step to ensure that Canadians are getting the drugs they need.”

The affordability of activities for seniors was another point raised during discussions. In response, Tassi pointed to the government’s expansion in the 2019 budget of the New Horizons for Seniors program, which is intended to support organizations and programs such as the Seniors Drop-In Centre.

To report a typo, email: editor@pentictonwesternnews.com.


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