CANADA: Alberta Increases Support to Help Aging Seniors Live at Home

TORONTO, Ontario / CBC News / December 16, 2008

Alberta will improve personal care service options to assist seniors and people with disabilities in their own homes. (CBC)

Alberta’s new long-term care plan, announced Monday, includes more services to help seniors and people with disabilities remain in their own homes.

Public consultations showed that most Albertans want to keep their independence as long as possible, Health and Wellness Minister Ron Liepert said on Monday.

As a result, the province will improve personal care service options to assist people in their own homes, “where they are the healthiest and the most comfortable,”
he said of the strategy called “Aging in the Right Place.”

“Why don’t we leave the individual in the environment they’re in? Why don’t we just give that person more care?” he said at a news conference in Calgary.

To help achieve that goal, the province announced initiatives to:

  • Help seniors make the transition from being in a care facility back into a home or community living.
  • Enhance home care, and increase daily personal care hours.
  • Introduce emergency support for someone who needs to get into a nursing home quickly.

There will also be increased support and respite programs for families caring for their loved ones, said the province.

But new Alberta Liberal Leader David Swann questioned the lack of details on costs and staffing.

“It raises as many questions as it answers. It’s a good direction. Where’s the detail?”

Liepert said some of the details will come with the budget in the new year.

Incentives for Renovating Private Care Facilities

“We don’t have to go out and reinvent or invent a new model,” said Liepert.

“There’s one that exists in Alberta today. It’s what I would call a continuum of care model, where as a patient needs more care, more care is provided.
Eventually that individual may have to end up in long-term care.

“But it’s all about the care, not about what the building looks like. And that’s really what we are trying to get away from.”

Incentives will be given to operators who renovate long-term care facilities and those who develop affordable supportive living spaces. The province hopes
this will allow seniors and people with disabilities more choice and availability in those types of accommodation.

Monday’s announcement did not include any additional quality checks for home care providers or assisted-living facilities.

The continuing care strategy is part of a long-term health plan released by the province on Dec. 1, which was criticized as containing few details or cost

Copyright © CBC 2008

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