MLA wraps up seniors tour

Alberta seniors want to live in their homes longer, remain in their communities for long-term care and better food once in that care.

Alberta seniors want to live in their homes longer, remain in their communities for long-term care and better food once in that care.

Those recommendations top the findings after a two-week, 24-community provincial tour by Wildrose Innisfail-Sylvan Lake MLA Kerry Towle.

“It was very positive. People were very engaged, but there were some disturbing practices,” said the opposition seniors critic. Staying in their homes longer pays off in happier, healthier seniors, Towle said, but home care limitations made it difficult.

“Many seniors talked about being forced into care facilities because of a lack of home care outside medical need.”

Seniors also decried Alberta Health Services’ 100-km rule where seniors needing care could be placed in a facility up to 100 km from their home communities.

“It creates emotional and financial hardship,” Towle said, adding such placement amounts to “divorce by nursing home” for couples.

Returning to meals using fresh ingredients prepared in local kitchens was universal.

“It doesn’t matter the care level, people want home-cooked meals, including in hospitals,” she said, explaining costs would decline once packaging and shipping of meals prepared in central kitchens was eliminated.

“Do we prioritize the health and welfare of our seniors, or anyone in care, or is it about dollars?”

Towle didn’t attend the final meeting in Red Deer Saturday due to a family emergency, but she said speakers also brought up parking concerns at Red Deer Regional Hospital Centre.

Towle hopes MLAs of all parties support her private member’s bill in the new legislative session beginning today. Bill 208: the Seniors’ Advocate Act, which has received first reading, would create a permanent provincial officer to advocate for seniors.

“He could take on a role like the auditor general and be a truly independent advocate and accountable to the public, not the government,” she said, with the position’s costs paid by eliminating waste and duplication within Alberta Health Services.

Towle said the Wildrose Party doesn’t know whether it would continue to pay commercial operators to provide public assisted living beds as the government does now. Symphony Senior Living Aspen Ridge in Red Deer, which went through a strike last month by Alberta Union of Provincial Employees’ members, will end its contract with AHS next year to provide 49 publicly-funded supportive living beds

“As a party, we’ll have to take this into account. There’s room in the system for private operators, but everything we do has to be done for the person in care.”

The party’s membership will likely consider the question when Towle delivers her final report to caucus and the public.

“We’re a membership-driven party so policies are formed at that level.”

Towle said her party “would love to have a meeting with government ministers to resolve these issues.

“But I’m not terribly optimistic they want to work with us.”

Just Posted

A representative for the office of Minister of Justice and Solicitor General Kaycee Madu says the new Red Deer drug treatment court is expected to be operational by the middle of 2022. (File photo by Advocate staff)
Red Deer drug treatment court expected to be up and running no later than mid-2022

The Government of Alberta expects the new Red Deer drug treatment court… Continue reading

Environment Canada says rain Tuesday evening will turn to snow. (File photo by THE CANADIAN PRESS)
Expect wet snow Tuesday night central Alberta

Heavy wet snow could accumlate with the potential for broken tree branches

FILE - In this Thursday, April 29, 2021 file photo, giant bucket-wheel excavators extract coal at the controversial Garzweiler surface coal mine near Jackerath, west Germany. A report by the International Energy Agency on Tuesday, May 18, 2021 says immediate action is needed to reshape the world’s energy sector in order to meet ambitious climate goals by 2050. This includes ending investments in new coal mines, oil and gas wells. (AP Photo/Martin Meissner, File)
Energy agency: End new fossil fuel supply investments

IEA report sets out 400 steps to transform how energy is produced, transported and used

A man inspects the rubble of destroyed commercial building and Gaza health care clinic following an Israeli airstrike on the upper floors of a commercial building near the Health Ministry in Gaza City, on Monday, May 17, 2021. (AP Photo/Adel Hana)
Strike from Gaza kills 2 as Israel topples 6-story building

Latest attack from Gaza on Tuesday hits packaging plant

The RCMP logo is seen outside Royal Canadian Mounted Police “E” Division Headquarters, in Surrey, B.C., on Friday April 13, 2018. A review by the national spy watchdog has found inconsistencies when it comes to federal efforts to ensure information sharing with foreign agencies does not result in torture. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Darryl Dyck
Spy watchdog calls for changes to ensure information-sharing does not lead to torture

Differences in federal departments stances when dealing with the same foreign agency creates concern

Red Deer musician Curtis Phagoo is glad the Alberta government is investing $2 million to help the province’s live music industry, but he would have liked the criteria to be expanded, so the money could be used as relief to cover revenue shortfalls. (Contributed photo by Cory Michaud)
Red Deer musicians welcome $2M in grants to help live music, but would have preferred relief program

The money is for future projects and can’t be used for retroactive expenses

Sheffield United’s Daniel Jebbison celebrates after scoring his side’s opening goal during the English Premier League soccer match between Everton and Sheffield United at Goodison Park in Liverpool, England, Sunday, May 16, 2021. THE CANADIAN PRESS/AP-Alex Pantling/Pool via AP
Canadian teenager Daniel Jebbison turns heads with Premier League goal

Jebbison, 17, is the youngest player in Premier League history to score on his first start in England’s top tier

This image released by Universal Pictures shows Nathalie Emmanuel, left, and Vin Diesel in a scene from “F9.” (Giles Keyte/Universal Pictures via AP)
The blockbuster movie makes a comeback this summer

Last year, summer earnings were $176 million, down 96% from 2019

FILE - In this Feb. 3, 2021, file photo, exile Tibetans use the Olympic Rings as a prop as they hold a street protest against the holding of the 2022 Beijing Winter Olympics, in Dharmsala, India. Groups alleging human-rights abuses in China are calling for a full boycott of the Beijing Olympics, which is sure to ratchet up pressure on the International Olympic Committee, athletes, sponsors, and sports federations. A coalition of activists representing Uyghurs, Tibetans, residents of Hong Kong and others, issued a statement Monday, May 17, 2021 calling for the “full boycott,” eschewing lesser measures like “diplomatic boycotts" and negotiations with the IOC or China. (AP Photo/Ashwini Bhatia, File)
AP Exclusive: Full-blown boycott pushed for Beijing Olympics

AP Exclusive: Full-blown boycott pushed for Beijing Olympics

Canada's Eric Lamaze riding Fine Lady 5 during the CP International competition at the Spruce Meadows Masters in Calgary, Alta., Sunday, Sept. 8, 2019. Canada's most decorated show jumper has withdrawn from consideration for the Tokyo Olympics. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Jeff McIntosh
Canadian show jumper Eric Lamaze withdraws from Tokyo short list

Canadian show jumper Eric Lamaze withdraws from Tokyo short list

Toronto Raptors head coach Nick Nurse questions a foul call during the first half of an NBA basketball game against the Cleveland Cavaliers Monday, April 26, 2021, in Tampa, Fla. Nurse says it was the COVID-19 outbreak in March that spiked his team's chances for a post-season run.THE CANADIAN PRESS/AP/Chris O'Meara
Nurse faces a busy off-season, much busier if Canada qualifies for Tokyo Olympics

Nurse faces a busy off-season, much busier if Canada qualifies for Tokyo Olympics

Hockey Hall of Fame inductee Danielle Goyette speaks to reporters during a press conference in Toronto on Friday, November 10, 2017. Goyette has been named director of player development for the NHL's Toronto Maple Leafs and their American Hockey League affiliate. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Christopher Katsarov
Hayley Wickenheiser, Danielle Goyette together again on Toronto Maple Leafs staff

Hayley Wickenheiser, Danielle Goyette together again on Toronto Maple Leafs staff

Most Read