Northern Health visits town

Representatives from Norther Health came to Smithers last week to survey locals about Seniors' health and well being.

Representatives from Northern Health visited Smithers last week to undertake a seniors’ wellness and healthy aging consultation at the Pioneer Activity Centre.

Around 75 seniors from Smithers and the surrounding community turned out to partake in the informal, roundtable discussion.

Northern Health’s objective was to listen, record and report on the experience of senior citizens and their hopes and ideas.

“We got some fantastic feedback and it will be really helpful as we compile the information going forward,” Steve Raper, Northern Health director of communications said.

Northern Health’s goal is to find out what is and isn’t working in various communities across the north,  and allow them to compare and contrast their own policies once the report is released.

“It’s a range of things. It’s not just health issues. It can be something simple like changing a light bulb or mowing the lawn. These don’t seem like major issues, but when they compound it can make it very difficult for senior citizens to stay in their homes,” Raper said.

“With just a little more support or help, these people could realistically stay in their homes longer, which is where most seniors would like to be.”

Other issues might include: access to recreational facilities, walking trails and social gatherings.

Past consultations on different health issues have produced meaningful results.

During a previous seminar on mens’ health, Northern Health’s report found that men were more likely to visit a temporary clinic in a convenient location, rather than their doctor. So they recommended setting up temporarily clinics at workplaces and events. 

“Quite often, men won’t go and see their doctor,” Raper said. “But if they can make a quick trip down to see a physician on their coffee break, the can get screened earlier for something that might cause major health issues later on.”

Though their report isn’t binding, Raper hopes that communities around the north will take stock of what areas they can improve upon.

“We just want to illustrate it. We know that through this report and these consultations we can influence the decisions within a community.”

Northern Health will travel through 12-14 different communities this fall and release their findings in a report next spring