A new report is suggesting the cost of housing is squeezing seniors more than ever.
Senior’s Advocate, Isobel Mackenzie said the number of seniors using property tax deferral in 2017-18 has risen 53 per cent in the last three years.
She said the age of the population over 55, which is when people qualify, is rising but there are a couple other reasons.
“House values are increasing significantly and I think people are viewing the debt against the house that’s created by deferring property taxes as fairly insignificant relative to the overall value of the house. I think the other part that’s happening is costs associated with housing are rising the so, this is one way to deal with them.”
Rent subsidies to seniors are also rising.
There was an increase in recipients of 7 per cent, although Mackenzie said it’s the seniors on the mainland who are struggling more with rising rents than it is those on the Island.
The number of people waiting for a long-term care bed increased by 7 per cent over the same day last year.
Makenzie said people on the waiting list experienced a median wait time of 63 days for Vancouver Island Health.
Island Health had the second longest waiting list, at 446 people.
She said one of her biggest concerns, when it came to the state of seniors services, was a 23 per cent increase in clients waiting to get into an Adult Day Program.
“Because I think that links back to a lot of things: Caregiver distress. Adult Day Programs support the caregiver as much, if not more than the client actually going to the Adult Day Program. When we look at our levels of caregiver distress, when we look at people who are lining up in care homes who could potentially still could be cared for at home, we find that caregiver stress is one of the big factors.”
Another finding in the Advocate’s report was there’s been a 30 per cent overall increase in property offences against seniors in the last four years.
Mackenzie isn’t sure why that might be, but one explanation is that seniors are more likely to report a property crime.