The Elder Citizen Action Coalition Challenge Publishers & Editors, to tell the Seniors’ important story. Seniors interest can generate a new source of many revenue advertising dollars for local papers, yes, your paper can move beyond “being covers for advertising flyers” and renew your value; Mission Mayor promises timely attention to Seniors’ Activity Centre in Inagural Address December 5, 2011, NOW READ (ECAC) VIEWS 18 months later; ELVIS SANG, “I GET SO LONELY, I COULD DIE”, sadly, a literal experience for some Seniors’.
· Here is a link to the first edition Mission Seniors’ Living 55 Plus. The e-edition is available at http://www.missioncityrecord.com/eeditions/ To view click on the (desired) edition
· ECAC extend a ‘challenge to all Investigative Journalists, Publishers & Editors of all local Community papers to follow the lead of the Mission RECORD and capitalize on this major source of advertiser revenue and offer deserved attention to the silver tsunami (Seniors’) in your Community who now hold the power to elect Federal, Provincial & Municipal Governments. As well, what local Advertiser is going to deny support for Seniors’ – indeed a win win situation is at your door and an opportunity to revitalize your paper, in part, focusing upon needs, issues, care & health of your largest population. Whether a 2-4-6 or-8 page insert (RECORD provides 8 page pull-out section), you can contribute to improving Seniors’ lives, partake in creating an informed and caring Society, influence Government to needed actions, your opportunities are limitless if you care and combine with a keen business sense to sniff out additional revenue. Keep content to varied/major Seniors’ issues, local issues, some controversy, local articles, avoid the generic, if possible and generally foster and publicize the Seniors’ needs. Simply, contact a local Seniors’ Leadership Group to discuss and feel free to use any ECAC materials, articles or references, if beneficial to your initiative. The Sun (most recent on Elder abuse) & Province have done some good articles, thus, each Community paper can augment and help bring information & solutions to the many dilemma’s facing Seniors but caring is the first obstacle or challenge to be met.
EDITORIALLY SPEAKING OF COURSE BUT– Keep in mind, this is not your typical Newsletter, read carefully, keep an open-mind, broaden your ‘attention span’ and you will learn something….. Remember these simple rules
1. Open discussion of ideas, values and priorities together with the expression of opinion is the basis for shaping effective and meaningful action
2. The phony prominence derived from elected office (Council, Chamber or Association) status neither promises omniscience nor protection from criticism from fellow citizens. The apparent fact that local (papers) will not criticize does not imply that others won’t or shouldn’t.
3. Anyone daring to contradict the power structure, has been rudely dismissed and belittled by those whom they have dared to criticize.
§ Often a case of “the same people, successive & frequently partisan reappointments/re-elections, doing the same things, resistance to change, encountered at many similar (bodies), expecting a different outcome”. (Often) wondering at lack of progress or why Volunteers are not interested. Attracting new & retaining current Volunteers is crucial. As well, measuring progress, to avoid pitfalls of “longevity breeding familiarity and fostering complacency that stifles new people & ideas”, a fine line indeed.
§ adage often espoused, “we need different people & ideas to change the direction/outcome of where we are at and how we got here – in order to progress”.
§ Increases in Membership are crucial, to sustain volunteer aspects of operating an effective Association, to achieving community presence and relationship fulfillment of volunteer plans and goals, to broader community interests and results of any undertaking by an Association, Membership growth & sustained numbers is the most crucial goal to achieve.
v Informed & empathetic Leadership is needed to make an inclusive community, an Age-Friendly Community, an environmentally sensitive community.
The Elder Citizen Action Coalition (ECAC) provides unsolicited, frank & sometimes “in your face”, sage advice in a constructive and objective manner, facts and wisdom exuding empathy but equally public opinion about public interests being observed and met or not, with proposed solutions. The “News to You Newsletter” offers a potpourri of issues & spectrums related to politics & living in Canada, BC or a Municipality but a new feature is our focus upon “Seniors’ issues, under The Elder Citizen Action Coalition. We seek to identify the most common symptoms, traits & problems and to offer some solutions or ideas that (Politicians) or (Organizations) may try to improve circumstances. If you recognize any of the indicators we allude to, you may wish to investigate, ask questions or get more involved, before it is too late.
THE LEARNING PAGE – offers sage advice and counsel to all Humans, with some focus upon Seniors’ but seeks to explore and thus, provide you with proven successful “Management skills & techniques” to improve your productivity, informed decision making & stimulate your creativity, innovation and contribution to Society. It is “look in the mirror time”.
* A Mission Seniors’ Dream, “An Activity Centre within my lifetime”. The Mayor’s inaugural address December 5, 2011, 18 months ago, promised “I will look at every available option – in a timely manner”. Since then, a Seniors’ Task Force has been formed and has held numerous meetings & toured various possible sites. The Public can expect a report to Council, by the Seniors’ Task Force later this year. At this writing, we cannot be assured what may be proposed but we await with baited breath.
· As Advocates for Seniors’, The Elder Citizen Action Coalition (ECAC), initially sought to “stir up community interests, focus attention and define an acceptable facility with applicable services and appropriate funding”. As well, clearly, some Mission Seniors’ have been “their own worst enemies”, in part, one segment or commonly alluded to clique, silo, displayed a lack of progressive dialogue or organization of all Seniors’; lack of (visible) public support which in part, left Political leaders in a quandary of unknown numbers in support, hence, no apparent urgency and we have sadly witnessed many years of moribund governance from all sides.
· Thus, on the one hand, it became a “Build and they will come” scenario, sort of a ‘good faith’ approach, that Seniors’ deserve their own facility but few have shown interest or support. The downside of this approach is for Politicians to invest some $5+ million to build a facility and no one comes. Sadly, many Seniors’ sought to have a facility in their lifetime, but sadly we have lost too many. Too many Seniors’ have and are, enduring “Loneliness” and finally, delays have perpetuated a lack of inclusiveness, lack of deserved respect for Seniors’ who indeed have built Mission but are relegated to a shared small inadequate facility.
· Sadly, a crucial component, to know our Seniors’ audience, has not been anticipated nor compiled. Simply, what is the number of our audience, beyond the approx. 9800 Seniors’ over 55 years of age, or by extension approx. 4872 over 65 years of age, but the unknown number is “how many would seek to avail themselves of this desired Seniors’ Activity Centre”?. Many would never come or at least seldom, some belong to amenities like Cedarbrook Chateau, Carrington or even Cedars, possibly others, (facilities) who possibly meet expectations of Seniors in residence, many or most of whom would not venture to a Seniors’ Activity Centre. When we add those Seniors’ infirmed unable to travel, we start to realize what our actual attendance and/or audience may consist of, allowing for Seniors’ growth in subsequent years.
· Communication is crucial but knowing a Seniors’ Task Force is functioning, the Public really has no update on progress, no marketing to stimulate & motivate Seniors’ interest and support. Lest we overlook a most important perspective, notably “Plan with Seniors and not for them”, the current vacuum of information is unproductive, at best. ECAC has established a high standard of expectations, fundamental specifications about location, size, funding and services to be provided, that when the Seniors’ Task Force makes its recommendations, Seniors’ will have some measure of comparison, to witness if our needs are met, which we repeat below:
v The basic Seniors’ Activity Centre should initially be approx. 12,000 sq. ft in size (with expansion five years hence to 15,000 sq ft and maybe in 10 years hence expansion to 20,000 sq. ft). It should be erected as a cement structure, possibly tilt-up sections, adjacent the Leisure Centre, on the 2 acre District owned property, to mitigate building costs, with any zoning change facilitated by Council. Being adjacent the Leisure Centre incorporates use of available services, such as weight training, swimming pool and other applicable amenities used by Seniors’. Located on easy access Bus route. We envisage incorporating a several story above/beneath ground parking façade. In addition, consideration, to above ground 2-3 story housing, incorporating some low-cost Seniors’ Housing, possible inclusion of several 300 sq. ft, single suites, in a mix of market housing, to facilitate a cost-saving viable venture. Actual services may vary upon determined interest and need but our web. site www.thecouncilclaw.ca affords viewing like new Seniors’ Activity Centre’s at Pitt Meadows, as well, Maple-Ridge, Coquitlam and West Vancouver, as well, incorporating an internal/external Seniors’ Exercise facility similar to that at Mill Lake, Abbotsford, designed & calibrated specifically for Seniors’ needs and conditions. We would envisage the structure being owned by the District and as landlords enjoy tax concessions and by contrast responsible for Maintenance & Repairs; that a fee-for-service would be paid to the Seniors Governance Association to operate the building as a 100% usage &self-governed facility, comprised of a specified number paid employees and augmented by a large Volunteer base. All participants should be paid members (and Guests) of the MSCA, with a small usage charge to those attending events (with a ‘gratis’ grandfathering to the OAPO). Levels of services/events to meet respective age groups, such as so-called “Young Seniors up to74; Mid-Seniors’ 75-84; Older-Seniors’ 85 plus” are desired to attract & sustain all levels of participation. The facility needs to be a self-governed, open availability seven days weekly on a 24/7 basis, subject to appropriate scheduling by Seniors’. A Seniors’ Governance & Planning Committee of potential users can readily establish desired activities. In addition, there needs to be consideration given to both Pre-Seniors, aged 50-59, with some sporadic mentoring of younger person to establish a needed respect of Seniors’ by young person’s through some inter-actions.
· To this end, ECAC take this opportunity to renew our demands, in the spirit and intent of ensuring a viable, effective and deserved Seniors’ Activity Centre evolves, that we do not witness, “needs falling through the cracks” or that an (inferior) facility is imposed. The short-term agreement in place is inadequate and seeks to perpetuate a lack of motivation to Seniors’, failed to stimulate public interest that manifested in a growing & sustainable membership and sadly, has done little more than perpetuate, in large part, the same use of the temporary facility, that has been in place, lo these last near 10 years or so. Thus, ECAC has and again takes the liberty to afford the Public and notably Seniors’ a clear definition of the demands made to Council, the parameters of type and content of an effective Seniors Activity Centre. Therefore, if the Seniors Task Force and subsequent proposal and pending agreement by Council, to build such facility, meets or better still, exceeds the terms, conditions and parameters put forth by ECAC, in good faith, the better for Seniors’ in the end. Thus, we do not want later to be asked, “why didn’t you speak out or tell us this or that”, no, we make our demands known for several years now. Indeed, at the outset of forming the Seniors Task Force, ECAC was not invited to participate and we sense some (political) maneuvering may have been evident, we witnessed some extent of “reinventing the wheel” as having attended a number of (Task Force) public meetings, that we could not participate beyond listening to proceedings, we encourage progress and first and foremost, aside from other possible ambitions, of some, we place the achievement of a Seniors’ Activity Centre, now many long years overdue, the first priority.
* What do Politicians like the most about VOTERS? Given most (Politicians) have an established group of “follow at any cost mentality supporters”, they love to witness low voter turnout, a thriving apathy and when the eligible VOTERS become aroused, seek “change” and a higher voter turn-out is anticipated, we occasionally find the “weak leave the sinking ship and not seek re-election”.
* Possibly the single greatest demand upon VOTERS everywhere, whether to elect “Boards at Associations” or “Politicians” the more pronounced qualities desired in Candidates include their exuding “empathy”, just as being wary of persons to avoid, the “passive bystanders”, thus the qualities of sound ethics and values that set true “Leaders” apart from the pack – take the time to research Candidates carefully, set high standards and vote for people who meet needs. “We are only limited by the imagination of our Leaders”.
“DELIBERATELY STUPID AWARD” – This ‘infamous’ increasingly popular, recognized authority is awarded to the most deserving, the misguided, arrogant, self-centered & truly ignorant among us but the “deliberately stupid” category is a truly heartfelt distinction not that many, fortunately, can aspire to & attain..
v (Repeat) Fraser Health Authority decision to impose pay parking at Mission Memorial Hospital in 5 years, prompting expansion of ongoing (current) protest to eliminate pay parking at Hospitals, by adding a protest to prohibit FHA & Mission Council from proceeding with an agreement to add MMH to the list of Hospital charging (unacceptable) parking fees.
v GREEN PARTY notably and to a much lesser degree, at this time, CONSERVATIVE PARTY, who in each instance had no chance to win a Riding, knowingly presumably, intentionally played the “split the vote role” to no democratic or visible benefit. TWELVE Ridings were published clearly indicating ridings where the NDP lost due to GREEN votes. By the next election, the CONSERVATIVES may well garner sufficient strength to similarly threaten the ruling Liberals. Certainly any Party is entitled to run candidates or express an ideology but sadly, when so closely identified to each other, a more sane avenue would be to collaborate. In time, VOTING reforms may provide better proportional representation but for now, polarized politics prevail in BC.
v Conservative Government decision to defeat Bill C-461 Private members Bill, losing Brent Rathgerber, MP in the (silly) process. Ironically, to publish Federal Civil Servant compensation over $ 186,000.00 is reasonable, should be published for over $ 100,000.00.
v Federal Government (temporary summer) funding stopped but similarly Provincial and FVRD are equally (stupid) in their reluctance to adequately fund Elizabeth’s Wildlife Centre, Abbotsford, B.C., as this compassionate person and Volunteers, service the Fraser Valley taxpayers & residents in their time of need, finding themselves with an injured wild life (critter) but Elizabeth is (always available and a real life safer), yet she is largely abandoned by ignorant and uncaring (politicians) in her desperate time of need, made to feel undue stress & anxiety, probably crying herself to sleep wondering how she is going to cope helping fellow residents & poor little injured critter –shame on politicians!
v Provincial Court wrong and insensitive judgment to sentence killer of “Captain” to ONLY 60 DAYS and equally aggravating, stupidly applying time served to sentence, in this case, leaving a remaining ONE WEEK SENTENCE. Adding the “red herring” of some (mental health implications) is repugnant, as well, thus the perpetrator was, at minimum, deserving of a minimum 3 year sentence, never permitted to own an Animal, $ 5,000.00 fine. Adding stupid insult to injury, the Judge foolishly out-of-context remarks about ”questioning why Courtrooms are often empty when children are victims”, equal stupidity to recent Sun Columnist Shelley Fralic Column wherein she too was wrongly making unwise comparisons. Whereas, each crime must stand on its own merit. Clearly, Animal cruelty must be much more harshly dealt with but equally more informed and reasonable people must judge penalties.
v Federal Government make “shop local” changes to reality – “SHOP LOCAL” is obvious and understood, Consumers all know “what is local”, and will continue to shop local as we know it! So, how can a new interpretation be up to 50 miles outside Provincial borders, how can LOCAL be anything but LOCAL except through eyes of some misguided bureaucrat or to appease some self-serving Factory Farmer trying to mislead the public for self-gains.
v ABBOTSFORD CITY, get an additional “SHAME” award, dumping chicken manure in an area frequented by Homeless, in a quest to chase them away, instead of diligent review, empathy and progressive steps to deal effectively with housing the Homeless and dealing with (others) through appropriate agencies to accommodate Mental illness, Drug addicts. Who in their right mind would actually decide to dump manure, such a rude, senseless and demeaning action, certainly deserving of the culprit making such a decision to be terminated themselves. Similarly, Abbotsford actually established a Bylaw to prohibit the likes of an In-site Needle exchange and they cringe at any progressive steps that may be alien to established narrow and short-sighted needs, (if) perceived somewhat (offensive) to held “Religious” perspectives, of some, if applied to drugs, prostitution or illegal leaning ventures, simply follow the “ostrich approach & bury one’s head in the sand”.
v Provincial Government foolhardy planned changes to Handy Dart services, inadequate funding and needless inconvenience hoisted upon people in need of this service. Restore service, notably to Seniors’ needs and improve respect to recipients.
v Federal Government failure to establish Canadian Standards of Care for Long Term Health Care, Private or Public funded facilities, requiring immediate action and legislation to establish sound principles of operation, high food service standards, serving fresh daily (not frozen or imported from elsewhere), high standard of safety (providing restrictive areas for mentally challenged and/or persons who may be dangerous to others, with no possible opportunity for dangerous persons to offend, adequate staffing, at least a 1 to 5 minimum staff (day) or 1 to 7 nights, requirement (Private or Public, with emphasis upon Public, due to the apparent profit at any cost that permeates, often via private ventures to make profit and sacrifice services).
v Provincial Government ill-advised charges of $25.00 monthly for wheelchair service, this (new) found add-on service charge, to any item (think bridge tolls), without apparent recourse, except the oft, allowance if affordability can be proven too costly for a person (ie; can’t afford cost to rent a wheelchair, so complete a study), whereas, some commonsense, judgment & empathy must be exercised and these (annoyances) absorbed and covered within health care budgets, not imposed upon individuals already labouring under possible illness, being absent from loved ones in a confined location, should not be hampered or stressed or anxiety at unplanned or excessive (new) costs.
v NEWSPAPERS failing to be responsive to Readers needs, becoming “covers to a multitude of advertising flyers”, failing to realize the importance of “Opinion/Your View/Letter pages”, which must be a minimum ½ page, to preferable full page, dedicated to Readers views/Letters/Guest Column. Failure to maximize benefits of electronic, daily updating, keeping info fresh and enticing, maximizing readers needs but similarly newspapers desire for revenue sources which are perceived a more preoccupation with revenue, as occasionally, for example, a Letters page may find a mere one (often small) letter, with 95% of page devoted to paid advertising. Do Publisher/Editors actually believe Readers thrive to their paper to read advertising or are we collectively more interested in local residents letters & information important to us – really a no-brainer?
v Provincial Government for “slapping Seniors’ in the face (twice), first, (wrongly) creating a Seniors’ Advocate but not as an Independent Officer of the Legislature (like Ombudsperson & Children & Youth) and second, no MINISTER, only now a “Parliamentary Secretary to the Minister of Health for Seniors’”, such utterly (stupid) and shortsighted, given the major number of Seniors’, potential voting power at each level of Government, such a disrespectful disregard for the people that ”built BC” and are deserving of appropriate representation now.
v Won’t learn, permitting arrogance & utter stupidity govern, by granting political staff increase, by as much as 18.0%, to as high as $ 230,000.00, following the same ilk (lack of judgment & thinking) last time hoisted HST upon unsuspecting Voters, this time wage increases, my word! Best advice, retract wage increases.
v People who wrongly & exceedingly stupidly perpetuate “bullying” and similarly the unfortunate stigma, prejudice & discrimination associated with Mental Illnesses; failure to empathize with hurtful burden to family members; failure to exude compassion for others to look into someone else’s eyes and listen to others voices and try to walk in others peoples shoes. Sadly, a failure to, through legislation but equally individual compassion & understanding to focus education about mental health to not only deal effectively with the illness but again, equally the stigma, that must be eradicated now.
The “Political” future is unfolding with optimistic opportunities
We need to “rebuild” the ‘Political system” and reinvigorate the Voters confidence in ‘creating and managing political change needed to restore Voter trust & confidence, including wise & thoughtful realignments of revenue streams to augment “Government coffers”, to eliminate a culture of crass, partisan evasion and lack of sincerity, some paths include.
· Next major public movement, most likely Seniors’ & expansion of the “Silver Tsunami” (a major growing Seniors’ movement, lacking co-ordination/organization of the whole but significant organization among throngs of Seniors’ groups across North America) – The common denominator of public protests, “long-standing issues not being effectively addressed”…..currently the “yell for attention” – next COMMON GOALS/ACTION by any astute Government!
· Canada & Provinces need “Democratic Reforms”, free votes, independent Committees and more powerful ‘Back Benchers”.
· The days of prorogued Government, Omnibus Bills and Autocratic Style, with “no dissent” MUST GO; a need to shake-up things if you want to change the dominant consensus or you’re never going to get progressive & fair change”.
· Simple & fundamental change is needed, abandoning “Leader dictatorship” and “creating effective Recall”, reinstating the Constituent as the primary beneficiary.
* MISSION “ELECTION 2014” – Are Mission & Abbotsford Councils performing, who is/who is not? It is time to start planning our ‘election campaign’ to attract, if needed, a (New Mayor & Council). CRMG (Mission) identified the successful process, a needed (SLATE) approach & typical campaign to achieve a renewal of Council, so let’s make more wise Candidate choices but the campaign process is before us. Will CRMG (Abbotsford)be fielding Candidates? Are any incumbents at Mission or Abbotsfgord not running for re-election? Seniors’ hold the balance of (votes) to elect a new Council.
Some Important dates to remember
· Thursday September 5, 2013, 10:30am, Mission Seniors Centre Association (No meetings during July & August), meeting at Mission Community Activity Centre ALL SENIORS’ are encouraged to attend this meeting, JOIN or RENEW MSCA ($10 Annual dues – help plan activities – YOUR SENIOR VOICE, LEADERSHIP, SUPPORT & WISDOM is needed more than ever NOW! VOLUNTEERS are needed.
· Thursday September 12, 2013, 1:30pm, Mission Seniors’ Advisory Committee (No meetings during July & August), monthly meeting at Mission Seniors’ Centre (venue change) – What is MSAC doing? Is MSAC attracting “the BEST” Senior Leaders? Does MISSION need one STRONG (Umbrella) organization to (represent) Seniors’ & secure an Activity Centre? An “Age Friendly” community needs a “steering Committee” – who?
Some Important web.sites to become aware of & informed about Seniors’ issues
* The Elder Citizen Action Coalition – www.thecouncilclaw.ca ‘click’ CONTENTS. The “cutting-edge Leadership for Seniors’ in Canada – Seniors’ unite & organize; NOW on ECAC site, 23 pictures of the impressive “New” Pitt Meadows Seniors’ Activity Centre (adjoining “The Wesbrooke Seniors’Living Community”
* District of Mission – www.mission.ca – watch Council meetings in progress LIVE VIA WEB CAST or check back anytime to view any topic or issues
* COSCO “Council of Seniors Citizens’ Organizations” www.coscobc.ca – 80 affiliated organizations; 85,000 senior members – The “Joys & Tears Conference” notes now posted
* OMBUDSPERSON – www.bcombudsperson.ca – A Roadmap To Better Seniors’ Care In B.C., A Summary of BC Ombudsperson Report – 176 detailed recommendations. Subscribe to receive email updates at http://www.ombudsman.bc.ca/subscribe Simply, “The Ministry of Health has, in many cases, failed to fulfill its leadership role for Seniors’ care in B.C.”.
* Elder Advocacy & Support (BCCEAS) – www.bcceas.ca (8% or 61,000 Seniors’ in B.C. experience abuse).
* NEW! Mission Seniors’ Activity Centre new web.site www.missionseniorscentre.com
* The Province series Boomerangst gives a good overview of Seniors’ needs, refer to http://www.theprovince.com/news/boomerangst/our-aging-society.html
* We are “The Elder Citizen Action Coalition” (ECAC) – “Representing & speaking for Seniors’ who share our values”. The Elder Citizen Action Coalition (ECAC) is a private owned, operated, non-profit, apolitical and pro-active Seniors’ organization. On the ‘cutting edge’ of the silver tsunami with the potential to represent millions of like-minded Seniors’ who share our values, thus our sphere of influence is massive. ECAC always represent the majority of public interests & public opinion & convey “responsible communication on all matters of public interest. The rallying call, “Unity In Challenging Times” *** Passion *** Persistence *** Power *** Progress
· Demanding “Respect for Seniors’” & improved lifestyle for ALL Seniors’. We are often irreverent, occasionally may portray a “devil’s advocate” persona, seek to address controversy, be provocative and normally “not suffering fools gladly”, we simply desire to “place ideas & issues on the table, & stimulate thought & inspire principled leadership”.
· ECAC, home of the “ELDER CITIZEN ROUND TABLE”, a visionary, innovative, knowledgeable & progressive thinking discussion group selected from the most informed progressive Seniors’ leaders and invited GUESTS; we will attend some Conferences and report back to Seniors Organizations locally. Refer www.thecouncilclaw.ca click ‘CONTENTS’ Elder Citizen Action Coalition – A “Champion of Seniors’ Causes, Needs & Issues”.
SENIORS’ MATTER – “It is time for all to shake hands”
….. Some retrospection will identify a road to follow …..BUT, First, (our focus) Seniors’ and a (story) that needs to be told “LONELINESS”. ECAC will talk to Citizens about various issues & try to focus Societal attention on Seniors’ important needs in the desire to be part of catalysts to spawn immediate informed attention and needed action to improve Seniors’ lives, watch for our important Story elsewhere in this publication.