The Pacific Rim Hospice Society, in partnership with the Coastal Family Resource Coalition and West Coast Senior Services Network, released the West Coast Older Adult Assessment 2020 last week.
Information was gathered from ten West Coast communities (Ahousaht, ACRD Area C, Esowista, Hitacu, Hot Springs Cove, Macoah, Opitsaht, Tofino, Ty-Histanis, and Ucluelet) to gain a deeper understanding of what the region needs and what can be improved upon.
To meet that goal, interviews were conducted with 23 local and regional service providers, including: homecare nursing, community paramedicine, municipal and First Nations governments, and several charitable organizations. Between October and December 2020, an Older Adults Needs Assessment Survey was also carried out over the phone and through online and hard copies.
One key theme unearthed during the research process was the need for companionship and consistent, friendly visiting.
“Over the course of our project, it became clear that the single biggest need and barrier is stable, on-going funding that allows time for staff to ‘just be’ with older adults. Time and companionship allows older adults to feel safe so that they can share their needs and desires. Only through these relationships will we be able to build the programs and supports that older adults need to stay in their communities and with their loved ones,” concludes the report.
Pacific Rim Hospice Society executive director Tarni Jacobsen offered a note of thanks.
“The Pacific Rim Hospice Society is deeply grateful for the community support of its recently completed Older Adult Needs Assessment. Thank you to the BC Community Response Network for funding this important research. And, thank you to the service providers and older adults who helped design the survey, those west coasters 55 years and better who provided responses to the survey; the service providers who took time to answer our questions and the draft report reviewers- we appreciate you all,” she said.
Jacobsen went on to thank project staff: Research Assistant, Janine Croxall and Research Mentor, Jeanette Sheehy for their dedication, expertise and commitment throughout this project. And, Brett Freake and Faye Missar for their expertise in guiding this research.
“It is our hope you will enjoy reading the results of the research and will be able to utilize this information to inform your life and work. Together, we will ensure the west coast is a place where all people will thrive as they age in place,” said Jacobsen.
According to the project estimates, about 20 per cent of the West Coast population is 55 years and older. The final report, appendices and supplemental resources can be downloaded at www.pacificrimhospice.ca.