British Columbians living longer 

Life expectancy well above national average in Canada’s west

click to enlarge PHOTO BY DAVID BUZZARD/WWW.DAVIDBUZZARD.COM - BUST A MOVE National Seniors Day fell during the BC Seniors Living Association Conference at the Chateau Whistler.
  • Photo by David Buzzard/
  • BUST A MOVE National Seniors Day fell during the BC Seniors Living Association Conference at the Chateau Whistler.

Chantilly Lace by the Big Bopper played as Barbara Vance of Vancouver cut a rug in Whistler to mark National Seniors Day on Tuesday at the BC Seniors Living Association (BCSLA) Conference.

Her Rheumatoid Arthritis and her two cancer battles didn’t stop her from taking a few minutes to celebrate the one-day of the year dedicated to seniors and the issues they face.

Vance was named the BCSLA Resident of the Year on Sept. 25 and she was participating in the association’s annual conference at the Fairmont Chateau Whistler. The extraordinary senior citizen lives in a retirement home in Vancouver and shares her love for photography and her life experiences through her Pinterest and Twitter accounts. She has more than 2,000 Twitter followers and her Tweet count is well over 7,000 messages.

Active seniors like Vance are common in Whistler and Melissa Deller, the resort’s Senior's Needs Action Planner, is in regular contact with them.

Deller said Whistler seniors are integral to the resort’s volunteer culture.

“Village host, mountain host for Whistler Blackcomb then we also have Food bank,” said Deller, listing off some of the initiatives seniors support by giving their time and energy.

She called the level of commitment unbelievable.

“If you think about the wonderful festivities we had all summer long, the amount of seniors that were engaged with the Ironman, the different festivals that happened throughout Whistler was huge,” said Deller.

She described Whistler seniors as especially health and fitness conscious as evidenced by the popularity of the seniors’ ski team and fitness classes designed for seniors.

According to Deller, her job is the best one in the resort. She creates and runs seniors programs and advocates for residents who need help navigating the health care system or dealing with other common issues faced by mature adults.

Linda Larson, the Parliamentary Secretary to the Minister of Health for Seniors, was in Whistler for the BCSLA conference and she joined Vance and the other conference delegates in dancing to the Big Bopper song. The provincial cabinet minister noted that British Columbians have the highest life expectancy in the country. Those over the age of 65 make up more than 16 per cent of the provincial population.

"It is important that we honour the many amazing seniors in our lives who paved the way for our successes," Larson said through a news release published a day ahead of National Seniors Day.

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