June – MLA Brandy Payne’s Report

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Hi friends and neighbours

My office is often asked, ‘What are you doing for seniors?’ so I’m pleased to let you know some of the ways we are working to make life better for Alberta Seniors.

Affordable Housing

$1.2 billion investment in affordable housing projects over five years include many seniors housing units across Alberta. Affordable housing for seniors has not kept up with the demands and we are taking action to address this across the province. The Provincial Affordable Housing Strategy will support development decisions both now and for the future. Thirty-three housing projects specifically for seniors are currently underway and these projects will upgrade or replace approximately 2,000 units and add over 1000 units of new ones. In addition, investment is being made to improve the condition and safety of current facilities.

Aging in Place

Last year more than 116,000 Albertans (of all ages) received home-care services and Budget 2017 is boosting funding for home and community care by $200 million, supporting more Albertans to home care and remain independent. This funding will provide seniors with important services that support them to live and participate in their communities. Home-care clients pay no fees for publicly provided personal care or professional health-care services.

The Seniors Home Adaptation and Repair Program (SHARP), started in July 2016 to support independent living for Alberta’s seniors. Seniors can use the equity in their homes to make the necessary repairs and adaptations that will allow them to stay in their own homes and communities. Low-interest home equity loans up to $40,000 per household to seniors with household income of $75,000 or less who have at least 25% home equity. These loans are for renovations such as roof and window replacements, electrical repairs, or accessibility changes.

Seniors Advocate

A new Seniors Advocate, Dr. Sheree Kwong See, was appointed in September for a term that will last until the end of 2019. In her role as seniors advocate she:

  • Provides resolution support to senior Albertans and their families;
  • Identifies trends and systemic issues affecting seniors; and
  • Makes recommendations to the government on how to improve senior services and programs.

Other ways we are making a difference

  • Banning door-to-door sales of energy products, seniors are being protected from misleading, high-pressure sales practices.
  • Alberta Parks is removing barriers, to ensure parks are more accessible for seniors. Alberta Parks is working to identify all the facilities that are barrier-free and is making that information public. All parks facilities are now built for accessibility.
  • The three-year $3-million Taking Action Against Elder Abuse Co-ordinated Community Response (CCR) grant program supports the development or enhancement of community responses to elder abuse in all regions of Alberta through improved collaboration among service providers.
  • Budget 2017 takes the next step in fulfilling this government’s commitment to creating 2,000 new long-term care beds. It commits funds to build a new facility in Bridgeland and to upgrade and expand the Norwood Capital Care facility in Edmonton. Together these projects will create hundreds of new long-term care spaces. Both are fully publicly owned.

As always, my staff and I are here to help and to hear your feedback. You can reach us by email at Calgary.Acadia@assembly.ab.ca, by phoning 403-640-1363 or visiting #10, 8318 Fairmount Dr SE.

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