Many communities on Vancouver Island are seeing their populations aging, and Lake Cowichan is no exception.
In fact, the growth of the seniors demographic is more pronounced here than in some other areas for several reasons.
One is that a lack of economic opportunities and big employers means that there aren’t a lot of younger families moving to or staying in the community, compared to previous decades where sawmills provided well paying, family supporting jobs for thousands of workers.
Counteracting that reality a little is the relative inexpense of real estate in the area compared to other places in the Cowichan Valley, which does work to attract some younger people looking for an affordable place to get into the housing market.
In that same vein though, retirees are attracted to the stunning setting, where they can live without draining their retirement accounts too soon.
And there’s just the fact that the baby boomers — always a big populations bulge — are aging, so there are more seniors everywhere.
With that reality comes a need for accommodations and services for seniors as they age.
Nobody wants to be forced out of their longtime home as they get older. We imagine everyone envisions being able to die peacefully in bed in their own home, but for many that won’t be possible. They will need more care as they approach the end of their lives, requiring them to move into a facility where those needs can tended.
Ideally, these folks will be able to, if not stay in their homes, at least stay in their community. It’s a huge factor in quality of life. It’s about maintaining the comfort of the familiar, and about allowing relatives and friends to maintain their relationships with their aging loved ones. Right now, people may have to be located as far away as Ladysmith or Shawnigan Lake, or even Nanaimo. That’s far from the best option.
So we applaud the idea of the development of some kind of seniors facility in Lake Cowichan, and urge officials to do everything in their power to encourage it to become a reality.
The people of this community need and deserve to know they can stay for their whole lives.