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May Advocate 2017

THE ADVOCATE V O L . 7 5 P A R T 3 M A Y 2 0 1 7 391 An overarching finding of this second 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 the 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 report identifies 18 barriers to wellbeing in the five subject areas of poverty and lack of income security; discrimination, ageism, racism and sexism; access to adequate healthcare and home support; violence and abuse; and access to justice. Making the changes needed to better include, respect and support older women is not a small challenge. The report identifies structural barriers to equality that require systemic change and enhanced access to justice and services. It identifies a number of strategies that could address these barriers including raising Old Age Security and Guaranteed Income Supplement rates; developing a publicly funded national PharmaCare program; implementing comprehensive training to address racism and ageism and to improve cultural competency within government and health services; and providing legal representation to grandmothers who are the primary caregivers of their grandchildren or great-grandchildren. We hope that the report will assist lawyers to better anticipate issues their female clients will face as they age, such as limited pension income as a result of a lifetime of prioritizing (over paid employment) care for children and spouse, or a lack of public funding for the home support services they require in their older years. The CCEL started the OWDP because we noticed that in recent years there has been much focus on the reality that our population is aging, but little attention given to the unique experiences of older women. The OWDP focuses on low-income, vulnerable or politically marginalized women—the older women in our communities who most desperately need law and policy in some areas to change and who are particularly vulnerable to exclusion from discussions of policy and law reform. Gender has a significant impact on life experience. Inclusive aging policy and law reform work recognize that this dynamic does not disappear as women age. Although this project was focused on older women, a number of the issues addressed in the report are also relevant to the experience of men as they age. The OWDP is a collaboration with West Coast LEAF. The consultation work and report were funded by the Vancouver Foundation. t t t t t


May Advocate 2017
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