As individuals age, health care becomes a primary concern. The PC Government has utterly failed our seniors in this regard. Despite continued promises, there remains a dearth of funding for assisted home care and a massive waiting list for rooms in long-term and palliative care facilities. Instead, seniors are often left to age in expensive and uncomfortable hospital rooms far away from loved ones.
The Government’s failure to adequately plan for the impending baby boomer retirements will only exacerbate these pressures further. But instead of focusing infrastructure monies on addressing this shortage, the PCs continue to spend billions upon billions on new acute care facilities without a viable plan to fully staff them.
Permitting our seniors to spend their golden years in noisy and impersonal hospital wards instead of focusing resources on accommodating them in more appropriate (and affordable) arrangements has created a host of problems that plague our ailing health care system. Building the necessary facilities and programming to help our seniors make a seamless transition from independent living to assisted living to long-term care as needed must become the primary health system focus of the next Alberta Government.
To supplement their CPP benefits, seniors often want to work part time during their golden years. Given the impending ‘baby boomer’ retirements and their effect on skilled labour shortages, this is certainly not a bad thing. However, for seniors, returning or remaining in the workforce is unattractive due to current taxation laws.
In addition, one of the most difficult financial challenges facing seniors today is the escalation of property taxes. As property values increase, seniors on fixed incomes find it difficult to cope. Many of these seniors have a great deal of equity in their homes, but are unable to take advantage of it without entering into a high-interest reverse mortgage.
- Introduce a “Kinship Care” program where family members who would otherwise be employed are compensated to provide extended care for their loved ones
- Substantially increase resources for home care, allowing seniors to age in the comfort of their own homes and communities
- Scrap the PC government’s new “Seniors Drug Plan” which would introduce onerous new premiums for tens of thousands of Alberta seniors on fixed incomes
- Ensure patients who are living at home in assisted living and palliative care are entitled to the same pharmaceutical benefits as those being treated in hospitals
- Allow seniors to defer their property taxes against the equity in their homes while working with municipalities to either freeze or restrict property tax hikes for seniors living in modest accommodations
- Encourage seniors to return to or remain in the workforce by reducing income taxes and eliminating benefit claw-backs for seniors with modest incomes
- Withdraw from the Canada Pension Plan and create an Alberta Pension Plan, providing Alberta seniors with increased pension benefits at the same or even reduced costs to the current workforce