Senior Care

Next Senior’s Team Meeting is January 24th at 10:30am at St. Theresa’s Catholic Parish 7508-29 Ave

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

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

Senior’s Care Focus on Home Care
After 35 months and 26 + meetings the Seniors Team received wholehearted support for the project they presented to both the Institutional Leaders Caucus and the Strategy Team on February 23 at the Catholic Archdiocese conference centre.The plan includes house meetings in member institutions to answer the question, “What home care services are essential to help seniors remain in their homes for as long as possible?”
Armed with this background information, a campaign will be developed. Allies will be recruited among seniors’ advocacy and social organizations and the people and politicians holding the power in this area of health services will be identified. People in our member institutions will be asked, for example, to:
  • write and/or call their MLA and the premier
  • write and/or call the Minister of Health and the director of Alberta Health Services
  • attend rallies or demonstrations
  • participate in a small GEA group meeting with politicians and/or the leadership in Alberta Health Services
The Seniors Team will provide scripts and training for people to raise their comfort level and skill in carrying out these vital activities.The Team considers this is a winnable situation and we are grateful for and excited by the support we received at the Institutional Leaders Caucus and the Strategy Team meeting.

There is a critical staff shortage in long term care facilities

On April 12th, 2010- GEA’s Senior’s Care Team brought a new voice to the legislature as they began a series of small team meetings with MLA’s regarding improving conditions for seniors in Alberta, particularly in terms of Long Term Care Funding.

Thanks to the meeting with Dr. Sherman GEA will now be meeting with other ministries and health officials related to important Senior’s issues.

GEA’s Senior’s Team has begun researching and organizing around the following components of Senior’s Care:

– Increased Funding to Continued Care Facilities and ensuring the proceeds from the sale of Alberta Savings Bonds actually goes toward Continuing Care.

– Changes to the Alberta Building Code to allow for more senior’s friendly housing.

– Increase funding for training of continuing care workers.

– Developing community owned not for profit pilot seniors housing and care projects.