By Gillian Slade on February 9, 2017.
Alberta’s seniors advocate will be in Medicine Hat next week to meet with the mayor and speak to seniors at Strathcona Centre.
Sheree Kwong See is the guest speaker to the annual general meeting of the Senior Citizen Advisory Council Feb. 15 at 1:30 p.m.
“It’s time to reach out across the province and tell seniors what the seniors advocate office does to help and how they can get in contact,” said See.
Since beginning her term in office last September, there are a number of pressing issues she has been made aware of.
Bullying in seniors’ residences is being heard with some frequency, said See.
“I’ve heard from resident to resident but also sometimes with power differentials, and there are no appeal processes for how people make their issues known,” said See.
The situation is being thoroughly researched before recommendations will be made.
Another major trend is around continuing care in general. Getting into continuing care and issues when you are in continuing care, said See.
There are also concerns about not being enough Home Care and about the model of Home Care not working satisfactorily. Not enough supports for care givers, who make it possible for individuals to remain in their own home, is also a concern.
Seniors on income supports are also struggling to make ends meet.
“People are saying … they’re not enough, that the world is changing and the income supports are not keeping up,” said See.
There are not enough options when it comes to seniors’ residences, including low income seniors’ residences, said See.
Making the transition from AISH when someone turns 65 is confusing and difficult.
“We’re hearing it, looking at it and bringing those issues forward,” said See.
For some seniors, simply getting through to someone in Alberta Supports is a challenge. See says there used to be a dedicated line for seniors and now everyone is triaged through the Alberta Supports line.
While there are sometimes government appeal processes to challenge a decision, they can be very labour intensive, said See. Even after investing the time and energy and getting a favourable decision, it doesn’t necessarily bring about change. In some cases an appeal process is nonexistent.
See says she is open to meeting with groups and individuals regarding the issues seniors face.
See reports directly to the Minister of Seniors and provides an annual report tabled with the Legislative Assembly.
Seniors, their families and anyone working with seniors can contact the advocate office by calling 780-422-1812 or Toll-Free: 310-0000, then 780-422-1812.
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