Accessing Medical Care Difficult In Remote Communities
One of the biggest challenges seniors face in remote rural communities in British Columbia is accessing medical services.
“The distance to receive medical help is paralyzing for people in rural and remote areas like ours,” said Alyson who lives in the Regional District of North Waddington. “Living in an area with such poor service conditions and no family creates a sense of fear, and anxiety, especially for seniors.”
Alyson is one of over 3,000 people who filled out our Let’s Talk Families BC! survey in 2014. Everyone surveyed faced a least one challenge related to their family’s health and wellbeing. Four out of five people surveyed reported facing physical health challenges related to issues such as injury or disease, system quality and lifestyle (scheduling physical activity and eating nutritiously).
Alyson’s children are grown up and she considers the community her family. Although she enjoys living in the community, everything from filling routine prescriptions to accessing emergency medical care is more difficult than in larger urban areas.
Medical services are often at least two hours away. People need to go to another island to fill prescriptions, and are often dependent upon others to do it for them. The cost of taking the ferry has gone up, and many elderly people cannot drive and find walking down the path to the ferry difficult.
“Seniors also often feel that they need to choose between living at home in a familiar place, but one that has no adequate services, or in one that does but is strange and fast (like big cities),” said Alyson.
If you have difficulties accessing medical care, we'd love to hear your thoughts below.