On November 7, 2017 I was appointed as the first Seniors’ Advocate for the province of Newfoundland Labrador. I am both honoured and humbled. As the Advocate it is my responsibility to seek input from seniors throughout this province and to determine where they believe gaps exist in legislation, policies, programs and services. Once gaps are identified as systemic we can complete comprehensive reviews and make recommendations as to how to address those gaps.
In these first six months I have established an office, created a website, hired staff, received numerous calls, emails and letters, met with many groups and individuals, read many reports and reviewed much research specific to seniors. My office is developing an inventory where concerns related to health care, personal care, housing, transportation and finances are documented.
I recognize that seniors are a multifaceted group with many different attributes and challenges. We need a broad understanding of the seniors of today and the seniors of tomorrow. I am developing a comprehensive, provincial demographic profile based on geography, age range, gender, health status, education, housing, finances, and so on.
I am very concerned about discrimination based on age which is sometimes referred to as ageism. I am committed to ensuring that older adults are respected and included.
I am now planning sessions throughout NL where I can meet with seniors and hear first-hand of their experiences and recommendations. I look forward to meeting with you and assure you my door is always open.
Suzanne Brake, PhD