Personal Best: National drug plan needed

Pat Black says voters need to look to candidates who support the issues and initiatives that they care about

Fall has officially fallen on the Okanagan and what a glorious time of year it is. Another good feature is that election time is almost upon us and all the hype and dueling ads will mercifully end.

For all of us, young and old, it is probably one of the most important elections we will participate in and seniors can make a difference by getting out and voting and encouraging others to vote as well. Encourage your grandkids to join you and make sure that first- time voters are registered before Election Day.

You might not know but Canada is the only country with public health care and no national drug plan. This means that 24 per cent of Canadians have no coverage for medications prescribed by their doctor. In many cases, Canadians requiring medication need to rely on insurance or constant, careful saving in order to afford the prescriptions that are critical to their lives. Indeed my own prescribed medication not covered amounts to $95 per month, a lot of money on a limited income. We need a national drug plan that takes care of everyone. These prescriptions — ranging from cancer treatments to insulin to antibiotics — are fundamental to our healthcare, and the lack of a federal drug plan puts our collective health in serious jeopardy. So check out which party is supporting this initiative.

A lot going on this time of year in and around Vernon and one of the most popular is happening Oct. 3 and running 8 p.m. until 11 p.m. The Allan Brooks Nature Centre (ABNC) and the Royal Astronomical Society of Canada (RASC) will be holding an Astronomy Night, weather permitting. Look up on the hill and into the stars and view deep-sky objects or see the moon up close! Society members will be there to assist. Bring your own telescope/binoculars or use one available on site. ABNC is located south on Commonage Road just past the army camp. Further information is available online at, or on Facebook or call 250-260-4227. Admission is by donation. This is a very popular event so come early to get the best viewing spot; parking is available on site.

Also on the following evening, Oct. 4, Allan Brooks Nature Centre is hosting a potluck dinner celebration for volunteers at the centre starting at 3 p.m., with dinner at 5 p.m. All volunteers and supporters are welcome to join in bringing their special potluck contribution and later partaking in the bannock and apples on a stick at the campfire.

North Okanagan Hospice Society is pleased to present their Living Well | Dying Well programs in October for people living with a chronic illness, family members and health care professionals. All three sessions are being held at the meeting room of the Vernon library from 1 p.m. to 3 p.m. This is a very valuable workshop tackling the great unmentionable subject we all struggle to avoid, death and dying.

The first session is on Oct. 6, “Let’s get Together and Talk About Death: Making Advanced Care Planning Conversations Easier.” The second session, Oct. 7, is “The Essence of Compassionate Caregiving.” The final session is on Oct. 8,  “I Did It My Way:  Understanding What it Means to Die a Personal or Appropriate Death.” The sessions will be led by facilitator Elizabeth Causton, who has worked in the field for more than 40 years.

This workshop is free but pre-registration is required. Call Hospice at 250-503-1800, ext 101. For more information, visit

In my last column I mentioned the 75 per cent discount for low-income seniors at the Recreation Centre for most programs, providing they have an updated confirmation letter from Service Canada stating they are receiving GIS. If you are having any problem getting this letter, contact Senior Services at  250 545-8572 and they will be glad to assist you. Also a 25 per cent discount is available for all seniors over 65 for the pool and a few other programs.