The high cost of living and accommodation is the biggest reason why many people resort to living in the streets. It is especially hard for senior citizens who cannot find employment or afford to pay rent. While homeless shelters may seem like an alternative, the reality is that it is not.
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Earlier this year, Anthony Kupferschmidt, the executive director of the West End Seniors’ Network, made a startling revelation about the housing situation for senior citizens in Vancouver. According to Kupferschmidt, some seniors with limited fixed income were taking drastic actions.
We see older adults who have to choose between paying their rent, electrical bills, food and medications. How do you choose between the medications that might keep you healthy and having a roof over your head? Some develop mental health issues or choose to take their lives – rather than become homeless.
Kupferschmidt says that some seniors would rather just take the easy way out and save themselves the trouble of worrying.
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For the most part, these senior citizens are isolated as their families find it hard to take care of them, assuming they even have families. Mental health issues only make the situation worse. As people grow older, they tend to become less involved in the lives of younger people.
Seniors need love too
The situation in Vancouver is also observable in many other parts of the world. Nevertheless, senior citizens are like everybody else and need love and attention. Society still has a responsibility to take care of people who can no longer work.
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Sometimes all a senior needs to live a healthy life is some encouragement. Social activity and exercise can keep Alzheimer’s and mental illness at bay. Also, providing housing concessions for seniors could go a long way to minimize the housing problems they are facing in Vancouver.
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Who is to blame?
Meanwhile, the issue is causing concern on social media and many Canadians are calling out the government for failing to take care of seniors.
Canada.... SHAME ON YOU. We are rich... okay 5 families who run this joint.. sort this out. https://t.co/q06f2VSX9c— Debra Scott (@Debra5cott) September 21, 2018
Please check in with the seniors in your buildings. This is heart breaking. https://t.co/yC9Ue0wPoQ— Rina Liddle 💜 💜 💜 (@Liddleworks) September 19, 2018
https://t.co/SW87DM115w@JustinTrudeau what are you going to do about this?! Do you not care at all about the people in Vancouver?! Homelessness & suicide is rising because of you #canada #Vancouver #Government #helpvancouver— Sharon Lim (@sharon1lim) September 19, 2018
It may be impossible for the government alone to fix the housing problem for seniors, but private establishments and kind individuals can do their bit.