Isobel Mackenzie named B.C.’s first Seniors Advocate

Isobel Mackenzie, B.C.'s first Seniors Advocate, was introduced by MLA Ralph Sultan and Health Minister Terry Lake at a press conference today. Sergio Margo/Global News

Isobel Mackenzie, who had led B.C.’s largest senior-serving body for nearly 20 years, has been named the province’s Seniors Advocate.

The new position, which was approved 13 months ago, creates an office led by Mackenzie that will monitor seniors services while promoting changes that will benefit seniors, their families, and caregivers.

Mackenzie has been a leader at Beacon Community Services, a Victoria-based organization for seniors, since 1995. The organization oversees a number of popular programs, including Meals on Wheels, and introduced Licensed Dementia Care, a model that has been adopted across the country.

“We don’t all need the same things when we’re 45 years old, and we don’t all suddenly want the same things when we’re 85 years old. Seniors have made this abundantly clear,” Mackenzie said at a press conference this morning.

“My focus will be on following the evidence and making recommendations based on the most comprehensive information available.”

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Mackenzie will head up the Office of the Seniors Advocate, which will have a budget of approximately $2 million.

Concern over care for seniors with dementia has increased in recent months. Last month, the NDP introduced a private member’s bill for Silver Alert legislation, akin to Amber Alerts for children, that would help authorities better find missing seniors.

WATCH: Should B.C. have a Silver Alert system?

However, Mackenzie said that she’s not going to start advocating specific measures before she even officially takes the role at the end of this month.

“Certainly there are going to be a number of ideas that are going to be appropriate. There’s not one quick fix for dementia, because there’s not one face of dementia.”


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