Spring 2015 Senior’s Team Update

Seniors Team Update Spring 2015

The Seniors Team is organizing our next round of house meetings.  Their focus is enabling seniors to remain in their homes for as long as possible. With the imminent Provincial Election, the Seniors Team’s is working to keep their issues front and centre, as the media focuses on the economy and the credibility of the current government.

We need to keep seniors issues up front.    The Seniors Team has identified three key areas of services:

  • Personal supports – housekeeping, cleaning, gardening, snow shovelling and small repairs.
  • Mobility and safety – transportation, grocery shopping, financial aid
  • Connectedness – social isolation, loneliness, poor access to health and social services.

The seniors identified that although they tend to be asset rich, they are income poor.  It is clear that Federal and Provincial median income to qualify for financial assistance is too high, for “middle income” seniors to qualify for support.    Alberta Health’s 2010 policy framework for an ageing population states as a goal to “increase the supply and range of home care and community care services to assist Albertans to receive services in the community.”

The question is whether we have the imagination to understand that or whether we will continue to pretend that the slack will be picked up through the ever-decreasing volunteer sector and decreasing social capital.  We can choose to put some key soft supports in place which in a short while will pay for themselves or we can wait until the medical costs overwhelm us.  It is time for action, its time for our system to evolve!

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Social Change

In this TEDx talk, delivered on October 20, 2012, ILSR Senior
Researcher Stacy Mitchell argues for a new phase in the local economy
movement. She notes that there’s been a resurgence of support for
small farms, local businesses, and community banks, but argues: “As
remarkable as these trends are, they are unlikely to amount to more
than a small sideshow on the margins of the mainstream if the only
way we can conceive of confronting corporate power and bringing about
a new economy is through our buying decisions… What we really need to
do is change the underlying policies that shape our economy. We can’t
do that through the sum of our individual behavior in the marketplace.
We can only do it by exercising our collective power as citizens.”

http://tedxdirigo.com/speakers/stacy-mitchell/
 Senior’s Team Meeting was October 25th at 1:30pm at Expressionz Cafe 9938-70 Ave 

To host a house meeting or volunteer as a co-chair contact Elaine at lainey@telus.net

The Senior’s Team is collecting information from seniors about the services they need or they think they will need as they age, services which will help them to stay at home for as long as possible. We have hosted 3 house meetings so far.
 
Early results show that it is soft, domestic services they predict they will need in order to stay in their home. People are generally satisfied with the medical services available but the other services like housekeeping, snow shoveling, simple house maintenance, personal care, are the ones that are either not available or are too expensive.

Although most of the participants were over 65, some of the people who were not seniors had some valuable input for us. Many of them were caregivers of parents and other elderly family members.

We would like to have more house meetings in our GEA institutions. To that end we will be calling the delegates or institutional leaders to offer them the opportunity to host a house meeting and be part of this project. Please speak to Elaine if you are interested in finding out more about hosting a meeting.

Representatives of the Team met this week with Fred Horne, the Minister of Health. We asked him these questions:

  • What is your government’s vision for helping seniors to remain in their own homes for as long as possible?
  • What is happening within the Health Department and/or between departments to make this happen?
  • How can the GEA Seniors Team assist the process?

The Minister spoke of initiatives in his department:

  • the Seniors Property Tax Deferral to be implemented next year
  • consideration of a refundable Seniors Wellness Tax Credit
  • moving access to Home Care into the community via the new 140 Family Care Clinics and the current Primary Care Networks. Each of them will have an Advisory Committee of community members.
  • Model being set up for care and support of the homeless after they are housed could be extended to care for seniors staying in own homes.

Our conversation included possible other options for service delivery via churches, seniors’ centres, other social enterprises not yet in existence!

The Senior’s Team raised these issues which need to be addressed by government:

  • inadequate training of home support staff
  • low wages for support staff even though the agency charges are out of reach for many seniors
  • absence of standards of care

Significantly, Minister Horne said the government has moved from consultations which are event-based to individual MLAs consulting within their constituencies. Get ready to meet with your MLA to tell him what you want.

The Seniors Team is without a co-chair and is in danger of disappearing should no one step forward to take that position. I am currently a co-chair without a “co”. There were 18 people at our team meeting this week. Three of them were observers three of them were members we co-opted to come to meet the Minister of Health.

Two asks happened at the Strategy Meeting:

1. Consider hosting a house meeting to gather information about services needed by seniors at home as they age.

2. Volunteer as the co-chair of the Seniors Team

National Day of Action June 18that Noon

Edmonton location: Canada Place, 9700 Jasper Ave

 Risking the lives of some of Canada’s most vulnerable is unacceptable to us.  On June 30,  2012 Refugees will face drastic cuts to their health insurance

  • ·         Children will no longer be able to get their asthma medications
  • ·         Diabetics will no longer be able to take their insulin
  • ·         Many refugees will no longer have access to health care

June 16th – 1pm  6420-101 ave Hardisty Care Centre Listening Continues

This weekend GEA will conduct an onsite listening for the worker’s on strike at Hardisty Care Centre.  Please come down this Saturday June 16th at 1pm to show your support for worker’s rights.
For more information please contact Philipia Bates-Renouf at philipia.aupe@gmail.com or go to their website at http://www.icare4hardisty.com/ and sign the letter to Premier Redford.