Orillia Chapter: Limited budgets a hurdle for seniors

Click here to read ‘Limited budgets a hurdle for seniors‘ by Mehreen Shahid – Orillia Packet.com, September 21, 2015

Living on a fixed budget is making it increasingly difficult for aging seniors to look after themselves.

An Angus Reid poll done in July, 2015 revealed that 14 per cent of Canadian adults do not fill a prescription for medicine because of cost.

Carol Stevens, interim chair for Canadian Association for Retired Persons (CARP) Orillia, Chapter 51, says she knows a few people who have done this and, as a result, put their lives at risk.

Stevens, 68, says she’s lucky her daughter and son-in-law live with her, however, for seniors living on their own, it is a different story.

The Oro-Medonte resident says she’s heard of her friends skipping doses or simply discontinuing using medicine once they realize they cannot afford it.

“I’m getting two prescriptions, and I have to pay for them,” she said. “A lot of people don’t even think about it until they go to fill out a prescription.”

She said generic drugs are covered by the government, but if a doctor prescribes a drug without a generic equivalent, they might be out of luck.

“It is a surprise when you get a prescription and you go and find out you don’t get it covered,” said Stevens, sharing her experience with a recent variation medication her doctor prescribed for her diabetes.

“Being diabetic, your needles aren’t covered, but everything else is,” she said. “A packet of needles is $35 for a hundred needles. You have to use a new needle every time and they bend very easily, so you may end up using more than one a night.”

A commissioned study by the Canadian Medical Association (CMA) revealed on Sept. 21, that to make senior health care better, the government needs to invest $3.3 billion in the following ways:

* Give provinces and territories more money based on the age of their populations.

* Covering the entire medical cost for households currently spending $1,500 per year or at least three per cent of annual income on drugs.

* Making caregiver tax credits refundable.

Only recently have the three party leaders started talking about money they would invest to make seniors’ lives better. Concerned citizensm, such as Stevens, say not enough is being done with regards to the geriatric care available to seniors.