Wednesday , 25 May 2022

Vulnerable seniors in Alberta left stranded due to lack of transportation services–communities called on to help

A leading seniors’ advocacy organization is asking communities in Alberta to help fill major service gaps in seniors’ transportation.

CanAge, Canada’s National Seniors’ Advocacy Organization, is calling on community groups and organizations across Alberta to share information that will be used to make critical improvements to seniors’ transportation in the province. Many seniors, especially those living with disabilities, rely on transportation services for daily necessities like groceries, filling prescriptions and visiting their doctor–yet nearly half of Canadian seniors report not having access to transportation that meets their needs. The pandemic has exacerbated the problem.

“Seniors living with disabilities have been overwhelmingly impacted by the pandemic, and they’re also the ones who struggle the most to access the transportation they need to stay connected and healthy,” warns Laura Tamblyn Watts, CEO of CanAge. “Before we can find a solution, we need to better understand the problem.” She notes that the pandemic has “shown irrefutable proof that, for seniors, transportation is a health care issue.”

There are an estimated 639,130 people over 65+ living in Alberta, making up 14 per cent of the total population. Data shows that older adults who lack access to reliable transportation services suffer from worse mental health, lower quality of life, and are less likely to be able to receive health care, including vaccinations. These risks are exacerbated for those living with disabilities, and those on lower incomes; especially during the pandemic.

CanAge is calling on communities across the province to submit a “community profile” online, which will capture important information about their local area, what seniors’ transportation services are in place, and what challenges they’re facing in moving older residents safely from point A to point B. This work is being conducted as part of F.A.S.T. Track, a national initiative to support transportation innovation.

Research shows that investing in seniors’ transportation pays major dividends–older people are the biggest contributors to travel and tourism in Canada.

“Keeping seniors moving keeps the economy moving,” notes Tamblyn Watts. “As we work to rebuild our economy, now is the time to invest in future-proofing transportation systems in Canada.”

The deadline to submit information to the F.A.S.T. Track initiative is March 31, 2022.

About Arthur C. Green

Arthur C. Green is an award winning journalist and is from Whitbourne Newfoundland. Green graduated from the CNA Journalism Program. Arthur also studied Business Marketing and Political Science at Memorial University in Essex England and St. John's Newfoundland. Green has worked for such organizations as CBC, CBC Radio, NTV, Saltwire, Great West Media, CKLB Radio, River Radio, Vista Radio, and Postmedia. He also loves Jiggs Dinner and can fillet a Codfish.