Danielle Klooster speaks to a group at the Red Deer Public Library Tuesday during a public meeting on public long-term care. (Photo by Jeff Stokoe/Advocate staff)

Lack of funding for seniors in private care

Meeting held to discuss long-term care problems

Central Alberta seniors living in private care homes are being unfairly denied access to funding for care, says a Penhold daughter.

“There’s suppose to be this program called self-managed care available whereby you can access funding to help pay not the cost of room and board, but the cost of care,” said Danielle Klooster who organized a long-term care crisis meeting on Tuesday night at Red Deer Public Library that attracted about 30 people.

“They would give me money to pay a private caregiver in my own home. But because these seniors choose to live in a group environment suddenly that’s considered evil, private care and they’re not eligible for self-managed care funds.”

Self-managed care funding pays for basic daily care like housekeeping, laundry, meals, and assistance with dressing and bathroom activities.

She said in P3 models, public/private partnerships like Extendicare Michener Hill, seniors pay room and board and the public health care system pays for care. Families with parents in private care are asking for the same thing.

“(Seniors) will pay their room and board and we would like Alberta Health Services to pay for the care piece which in other zones across the province is being done.”

Klooster’s mother, 81, and father, 82, live at Spruce Cottage outside Lacombe, part of the private long-term care company Community Care Cottages. Community Care also has cottages in Red Deer.

She said her mother, who has dementia, receives much better care at Spruce Cottage than she did during a short stay in a publicly-funded facility. Her parents would also be split up if her mother was in a publicly-funded facility.

“In the home that my parents live in the caregiver to resident ratio is four to one. In public facilities it’s suppose to be somewhere around the 12 to one mark, but it’s actually way higher,” Klooster said.

She said since seniors have started advocating for self-managed care funding, those living at Community Care Cottages who did receive the funding have since seen it eliminated by AHS.

“We need serious health reform in long-term care. It is awful and if it’s awful now what is it going to be like in 20 years?”

Officials with Alberta Health Services Central Zone were unavailable to comment on Tuesday.

szielinski@reddeeradvocate.com

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