Friday, August 2, 2013

Seniors Scene

Counting Pennies

Cost of living increases chip away at OAS pension

Submitted by Myrtle Macdonald, Chilliwack/Voice file photo

haven't studied this bill (Bill C-428 OAS Pension), nor the reply below that updates facts, because I feel weary. Some people get very emotional about immigrants, especially those of another race.


That is sad. They forget that their grandparents were immigrants too.


Older folk immigrate only because their family are here, so hopefully their son/daughter has had a history of paying income tax and contributing to the economy. They should be with their grandchildren. Besides they baby sit the children and do the cooking and many other valuable tasks, so that the younger members of the family all have work.

My concerns are for many elderly people who have no income but OAS and Guaranteed Income Supplement. A total of $12,144.00 annual income is not enough to live on. Assisted living is no paradise. Phyllis (not her real name) has no inheritance left and no CPP, so that is all she gets, plus a reduced rate at an Assisted Living facility. The one size fits all arrangement is that the Residence gets all of her income except $300 per month, but out of that she buys the following:

Breakfast food about $ 20.00
Vitamin pills & over the counter 60.00
Incontinence supplies about 120.00
Prescription meds 60.00 per month (She has to pay $350 up front in the first three months.)
Cable 40.95 excessive, don't you think?
Telephone 30.95
BC Hydro 15.00
Insurance on her personal belongings is supposedly required. We have ignored repeated reminders. There is a special annual rate of $100. (Excessive really)
Tai chi 20.00
Taxi Saver Tickets 40.00
Outings offered by the Residence. She rarely goes. The bus trip and lunch come to about $20
Hearing Aid $4000 100.00 per month (The Lion's Club reluctantly gave $1000. ) Half remains unpaid.
Foot Care 6 times a year ($35) 17.50
Manicure and hair cuts done by her sister. She can't afford the inhouse hairdresser.
Clothing: second hand
Shoes ?

Toilet articles, even TP, laundry soap. She does her own laundry often . The residence staff wash only bed sheets.

Shampooing of her carpet. In over eight years the only time it got shampooed was by her aging sister. High dusting never gets done. Medium height dusting doesn't either. A thorough cleaning is needed. Her walker needs replacement. $350.

Her room is hot four months of the year. There should be AC. Dental care is estimated at $2000. Her teeth are badly neglected. She was at the dentist two weeks ago. It is a shame how bad they have become.

Entertainment, restaurants, concerts, trips to visit relatives are impossible. She loves to donate to Christian causes, but can't any more. She has nothing for gifts. There are many sales of crafts & clothing at the Residence. I notice that like her, the other residents buy little or nothing.

Because she had shingles two years ago, the staff started helping her have a bath twice a week. They have continued, I suppose, because of her urinary incontinence. Most people in Assisted Living have help only once a week with a shower.


The same is true in Home Care. When her mother was still alive, and they lived together in an apartment, the Home Care Aid came twice a week because there were two people, so she helped them each have two baths a week, but that was not on the "care plan".


The government needs to know how poorly they provide for the elderly.

I too suffer from poverty. I still have a huge mortgage that gobbles up most of my income: OAS, GIS, CPP, RIF of $311.42 and mineral rights royalties (averaging $100/month). I have not had to pay income tax for three years, which makes it obvious that I too really am under the poverty line. The cost of living has risen at least 50% in the last 4 years I have noticed, yet our pension rises about 1%.

Feel free to pass this info on to anyone. The government needs to know how poorly they provide for the elderly. They ought to supply dental care and a lot of the above expenses.

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