NDP, union demand more long-term care beds

EDMONTON — One of Alberta’s largest unions is joining forces with the NDP to demand that the government of Premier Ed Stelmach honour its promise of January 2008 to add new long-term care beds for seniors.

EDMONTON — One of Alberta’s largest unions is joining forces with the NDP to demand that the government of Premier Ed Stelmach honour its promise of January 2008 to add new long-term care beds for seniors.

Dennis Mol, Alberta president of the Canadian Union of Public Employees, says Stelmach is “putting the health of seniors and other Albertans at risk.”

Maxine Copeland, a national representative of the union, says some of its members who work with seniors say they are not being cared for properly due to a long-term care bed shortage.

She says the seniors accept what’s being offered because they have no where else to go.

The union will deliver more than 2,600 signed postcards to the legislature calling on the province to create 600 new long-term care beds.

On Wednesday, the province announced new funding for hundreds of new or renovated assisted living beds.

Seniors Minister Mary Anne Jablonski said $50 million will allow low and moderate-income seniors and persons with disabilities to access more affordable home-like options when they can no longer live independently.

But critics charge that assisted living doesn’t provide adequate care for many seniors.

“Reduce levels of care and push people into assisted living where you can get those pieces of care but you have to buy each one,” said NDP Leader Brian Mason.

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