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Food standards, over-medication high on B.C. seniors’ care list of concerns

Office of B.C. Seniors Advocate releases long-term care and assisted-living directory
The B.C. Office of the Seniors Advocate released its 2023 long-term care and assisted living directory report this week. (Black Press Media file photo)

Food quality and over-medication in seniors’ care are areas of concern, says B.C.’s seniors advocate.

The B.C. Office of the Seniors Advocate released its 2023 long-term care and assisted living directory report Wednesday, Dec. 20, and in a press release, stated the proportion of residents taking anti-psychotic medication without a diagnosis of psychosis was 28 per cent, an increase of 3.7 per cent over the previous year and 16.7 per cent compared to five years ago.

The report noted that 45 per cent of residents were taking nine or more medications as compared to 42 per cent last year and 40 per cent five years ago. Further, 50 per cent of residents in health authority-owned sites take nine or more medications, as opposed to 42 per cent in contracted facilities.

Improper use of multiple medications can lead to negative effects, “including falls and cognitive impairment, harmful drug interactions, and drug-disease interactions, in which a medication prescribed to treat one condition worsens another or causes a new one,” the report found.

“We are seeing a reversal of previous gains on reducing the use of anti-psychotic medications with an increase of almost 17 per cent over the past five years,” said Isobel Mackenzie, B.C. seniors’ advocate, in the press release.

She also expressed concern about relatively low expenditures on food, saying the current average of $10.12 per resident per day is 16 per cent below the $12.07 per resident minimum expenditure required of care facilities in Ontario, for example.

“With our recent survey finding nearly 40 per cent of long-term care residents only ‘sometimes,’ ‘rarely’ or ‘never’ like the taste of the food, it is reasonable to ask if we could improve on this finding if we spent more on meals.”

The directory is available as a hard copy or online and Mackenzie hopes people utilize it.

“The directory is a valuable tool for seniors, caregivers and the public – particularly for people interacting with the long-term care and assisted-living sector for the first time,” she said.

To view the online directory, visit

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