Penticton to receive 90 new long-term care beds for seniors
Sophie Carrigan Gray
Local Journalism Initiative
Hundreds of long-term care beds will be added to facilities in the Okanagan area to help with the growing senior population.
The addition of 495 beds is the largest single increase in care beds in the region in over 15 years. The beds will allow seniors to continue to receive care in their home region and provide job opportunities for healthcare professionals in the Okanagan.
The beds are provided by the Province of B.C. and Interior Health. They will be distributed around the Okanagan, with 100 new beds in Kamloops, 140 beds in Kelowna, 90 in Vernon, 75 in Nelson and 90 in Penticton.
“The plan we are setting in motion today for nearly 500 beds is what people in the region need,” said Minister for Health Adrian Dix in an emailed press release. Dix called the historical increase in beds a “commitment to seniors living in Interior communities, an assurance that care close to home is available, when they need it.”
The new beds will increase available long-term care beds by almost 10 per cent. Exact locations of the beds will be decided through a bid process, with final decision for placements expected in early 2021.
“Interior Health supports individuals to live independently through home and community care services. When this is not possible, long-term care is often needed,” said Doug Cochrane, Interior Health board chair.
B.C. has an aging population, with 19 per cent of residents 65 years of age or older. The growth rate of seniors over the age of 75 in the Interior region is even higher, with a projected growth of 28 per cent over the next five years.
The new beds are financed by the government’s $1 billion investment to improve care for seniors over three years.
“This is another step in a series of substantive actions that our government has taken to improve and strengthen seniors care in our province,” said Ronna-Rae Leonard, parliamentary secretary for Seniors. “Investing in long-term care will help recruit a new generation of health-care professionals to the interior region, ensuring that seniors can get the care they need to age well and with dignity for years to come.”