Join the conversation. Tweet us using #SeniorsPlan

Carolyne from British Columbia's Story

The high cost of not only provincial health care but drugs is filling our final days with so much stress that I’m beginning to think it’s not worth the effort to stay alive. I have worked my whole life and am collecting CPP and OAS [Canada Pension Plan and Old Age Security] but in British Columbia I still have to pay for part of my provincial medical care for both myself and my spouse. I have end-stage COPD [chronic obstructive pulmonary disease]. Yes, I know that smoking for many years caused this disease, but I cannot change that now. 

Presently I spend most of my money on medication. I have BC PharmaCare coverage but my expenses every month are still not cheap. One of my inhalers costs $169 per month, one costs $86 and a third costs $28. I also take many pills for the damage done to my heart and high blood pressure. My spouse and I both need glasses but cannot even afford to go to an optometrist let alone buy glasses — we make do with ones we buy from the dollar store. Forget about getting any dental work done.  Maybe we should have had all of our teeth pulled when we were working and dental care was covered by our employers’ medical plan, because dentures don’t need much care.

We own our home, but it is an older home and needs many repairs that we cannot do. We have had to take out a reverse mortgage just to pay our taxes and utility bills. As a senior who has worked and paid into the system for 60 years, I don’t feel I should have to be paying high medical bills at this time of my life just to stay alive. What is the answer at this point? Should we just give up? I have tried taking my medication every second day just to make it last, but that only results in a hospital stay.

Seniors need help. I worked right up until I was 67 when my COPD got too bad, and I know that there are many other seniors who are older and are still working because they have to eat. Have any of these politicians looked in the grocery cart of a senior? We scan all the flyers for the best deals and the coupons and dream of the days when we could actually have a roast. Even hamburger is getting beyond our reach. Most of us live on two meals a day and they often consist of a sandwich and a bowl of homemade soup. We need and deserve better treatment.