Media releases | October 18, 2006

EDMONTON—Public Interest Alberta, an independent, non-partisan advocacy organization, has set up billboards in six cities around Alberta to challenge the provincial government to take five important steps to address the serious situation of homecare and long-term care.

In Edmonton, representatives from seniors' organizations, family members with seniors in care and people who work to care for seniors have joined together to stage a "Sleep In" in the parking lot in front of one of the campaign billboards.

"We are here today, Persons' Day, to tell the provincial government that they need to take action now," says Noel Somerville, Chairperson of Public Interest Alberta's Seniors' Task Force. "The beds and the Raging Grannies are here to dramatize the fact that, unless steps are taken to rectify the deficiencies in care for seniors, we might as well be plunking them in parking lots. If Albertans don't want their health care delivered the THIRD WAY, why would they think it acceptable for our senior citizens?"

Ron Ellis, the Executive Director of Seniors United Now (SUN) said, "Seniors need to get enough support to be able to remain in their home and community. This campaign is working to bring awareness of the terrible underfunding of our homecare programs that is forcing far too many seniors out of their homes."

"For at least a decade, nurses have been raising the alarm about the devastation in long-term care - stripping seniors of care and support in their most vulnerable time," says Bev Dick, United Nurses of Alberta Vice President. "By the time my mother was eleven years old, women had achieved the right to vote and to hold public office," said Carol Wodak.

"But 70 years later, she was again marginalized: citizens who are old, ill and disabled simply do not get the kind of medical and nursing care the rest of us would take for granted. Our nursing homes have been turned into parking stations, where a nurse is rare and a change of diaper four times a day is defined as 'comfort care'."

People are invited to sign the "Alberta's Seniors Deserve Better" postcards and visit the PIA website (www.pialberta.org) to send a message to the Minister of Seniors, Yvonne Fritz.

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