Re. the Sept. 7 letter from Ken Collier, board chairman for the Friends of Medicare, headlined Health stance not reassuring:
As minister of seniors and community supports, I have met with many seniors throughout the province. I understand the importance of seniors needing to know that support will be available close to home when needed — as is the case when a senior needs continuing care services.
The Alberta government has put substantial effort and resources into promoting the quality, choice and supply of these services.
While Alberta Health and Wellness regulates the number of long-term care beds and health-care services in these facilities, Alberta Seniors and Community Supports oversees accommodation services like meals and housekeeping.
The two departments have developed a Continuing Care Strategy to help seniors “age in the right place,” close to their families and friends. We’re doing this by fostering the services and supports that help seniors remain in their communities as they age and their needs change.
Currently, and for several decades now, a mixture of public, non-profit and private-for-profit organizations have provided continuing care services in Alberta. The strategy will help to further promote options for seniors and others who need continuing care services, which will continue to be provided by a variety of organizations as is the case today.
A case in point of government’s continued investment in this area is the more than 7,800 supportive living and lodge units throughout the province whose development or modernization has been supported by approximately $365 million in capital funding since 1999. This is on top of other support for seniors, such as a monthly income supplement for low-income seniors and assistance with dental, optical and other health-related expenses.
In the context of an aging population, the Seniors Department will continue to look at how to assist seniors who are most in need, and I will continue to advocate for all seniors.
Mary Anne Jablonski