EDMONTON - Today Public Interest Alberta is releasing their Priorities for Change for Alberta Seniors.
“Seniors in Alberta face a wide range of issues and challenges,” said Terry Price, President of Public Interest Alberta and Chair of the Seniors Task Force. “As adult children care for aging parents and find the system impossible to navigate; as seniors whose spouses suffer with dementia are shuffled from one for-profit facility to another; or as Albertans living on fixed incomes make potentially life-threatening choices between rent, food, and medications, they experience firsthand the failure of successive provincial governments to honour the human rights of and to care for Alberta seniors.”
“Seniors suffer with loneliness, lack of access to medication, income and food insecurity, and more,” said Price. “We need a government that will fully commit to treating seniors the way they deserve to be treated — with dignity and respect. Decades of reviews and research have consistently identified major problems and provided recommendations for improvement that have been minimized and ignored. Consequently, Albertans witnessed the devastating effects of the COVID-19 pandemic on Alberta seniors, especially those in congregate care facilities. Decades of neglect, privatization, and declining staff-to-patient ratios have spelled disaster for seniors and resulted in thousands of unnecessary and premature deaths.”
“Too many seniors are suffering in silence and we deserve better,” said Price. “This election, we are raising our voices to demand our priorities be heard. An Alberta for All includes seniors as much as everyone else.”
Public Interest Alberta demands that the next Alberta government must:
- Pass legislation establishing an Independent Office of the Seniors Advocate which would report directly to the legislature and the public, and be appropriately empowered and funded to promote the rights and well-being of Alberta seniors.
- Commit to building a system of comprehensive service delivery that ensures the well-being of seniors including health needs, housing, income/financial supports and social supports.
- Commit to provide and fully fund high quality care that meets the physical, emotional, mental and social needs of seniors residing in congregate care facilities and ensure that care is provided by full-time, full-benefit workers who are employed in only one facility.
- Expand the funding, scope and accessibility of services that will permit seniors to continue to reside in their own homes or communities and experience optimal health at all stages of aging.
- Lobby the federal government to establish a single-payer National Pharmacare Plan and commit to Alberta’s full participation in the plan once established.
- Establish consistent data collection, tracking protocols, monitoring and reporting processes that apply to all services that receive any amount of government funding regardless of the ownership status of the facility or service provider.