Tuesday, 21 March 2017

March 2017 We Are Not All the Same: Key Law, Policy and Practice Strategies for improving the lives of Older Women in the Lower Mainland

EXTRACT: Vancouver BC - The Older Women’s Dialogue Project (OWDP) is a collaboration of the Canadian Centre for Elder Law (CCEL) and the West Coast Legal Education and Action Fund (West Coast LEAF) that brings together analytical perspectives that consider both aging and gender. The project was created to address a gap in research with respect to the experiences of older women.

..."An overarching finding of this report is that the life experiences of older women are so diverse that generalizing is challenging. As a result, a number of the barriers to well-being discussed in this report deal specifically with the experiences of grandmothers caring for grandchildren, older Indigenous women, women with disabilities and immigrant, refugee and ethno-cultural minority women."

The 18 barriers, as arranged into the five subject areas, are as follows:

Area I. Poverty and Lack of Income Security Barriers
1. Inadequate pensions
2. Inadequate public funding for prescription medication and oral healthcare
3. Unpaid family caregiving reduces pension income
4. Lack of financial support for grandmothers raising grandchildren

Area II. Discrimination, Ageism, Sexism and Racism Barriers
5. Ageism and age discrimination
6. Racism and racial discrimination against Indigenous women
7. Lack of interpretation for women who are deaf or hard of hearing
8. Systemic discrimination against elder lesbians and queer older women living in long-term care
9. Poor treatment on public transit

Area III. Lack of Access to Adequate Healthcare and Home Support Barriers
10. Problems accessing physician care for women with disabilities
11. Barriers to accessing appropriate home support Area IV. Violence and abuse
12. Living with Fear
13. The impact of historic trauma on older Indigenous women.
14. Abuse and neglect by family members
15. Barriers to accessing transition house services Area V. Barriers to access to justice
16. Lack of legal representation for grandmothers
17. Lack of knowledge about options for legal assistance
18. Lack of language interpretation to support access to legal advice for immigrant women

Each discussion of the 18 barriers includes strategies for law, policy and practice reform. The strategies are also summarized at the end this report. Although this series of consultations involved older women living in the Lower Mainland, many of the findings and strategies are relevant to the experiences of women living throughout BC or Canada.

The list of 30 strategies is far-reaching. It includes calls to:

Raise Old Age Security and Guaranteed Income Supplement rates;

Develop a publicly-funded national Pharma-care program;

Implement comprehensive training to address racism, ageism and cultural competency within many of our social and government institutions; and

Provide legal representation to grandmothers who are, or seek to be, the primary caregivers of their grandchildren or great-grandchildren.