The executive director of an advocacy group for the rights of seniors and nursing home residents says the province’s new strategy to keep seniors in their homes as long as possible lacks “meat and the potatoes”.
Cecile Cassista and the Coalition for Seniors and
Nursing Home Residents’ Rights’ board of directors prepared a document
yesterday in response to the Home First plan introduced Wednesday.
said the coalition was not appropriately consulted in regards to the
strategy – a three-year pilot project which will see $7.2 million in
funding for the first 12 months alone – and because of that, it has
“There’s certainly not enough detail and
information as to how we keep someone at home,” she said. “It talks
about facilities, care homes and a plan for that but it does not get
into the real meat and potatoes of the issue.”
In a press release,
the province reveals it will invest about $1.6 million to develop and
deliver a senior’s health, well-being and home safety assessment. This
will provide those eligible with financial assistance for small in-home
repairs and will assess individual senior’s needs in their residence.
The home safety assessment is also transferable to caregiver needs.
regards to nursing homes, the program will provide the Resident
Assessment Instrument – Minimum Data Set, a computerized clinical tool,
which the release said is meant “to enhance the assessment of
individuals, generate data on which effective resident care plans can be
developed and provide quality, comprehensive data for province-wide
benchmarking, policy development and risk management”.
said this is worrisome for senior’s rights because it’s a step
backwards. The province used to calculate senior residents’ assets this
“They’d assess your home, cottage, bank accounts,” she said. “They’d go through it all and we are very sensitive about that.”
The press release for Home First also explains more than $1
million will go to support the growth of the home support sector.
Benefits include improved training for workers, recruitment and
retention strategies, and the implementation of a new
neighbourhood-based model of home support delivery that will provide
more coordinated services for seniors and reduce travel time for home
The departments of Social Development and Health
will invest $1.6 million and $605,000, respectively, to enhance the
rapid rehabilitation for seniors, meant to assist with timely access to
community-based rehabilitation services to ensure they recover from
illness and injury and return home faster following a hospital stay.
coalition, Cassista said, would like the strategy to include the
elements it outlines in the document Aging in Place as key in quest to
keep the elderly at home longer.
“They need to move in our
direction,” she said. “Ours is not a secret, and we have reviewed it in
2012, 2013, and again, this year.”
Its recommendations for the
proper way to support the province’s seniors to continue living at home,
whether it’s a detached house, a condo or a co-op, include
incorporating home support workers under the umbrella of the Regional
Health Authorities, that daily fees’ calculations in nursing home care
not include assets, to increase the nursing home and special care
allowance to $288 per month, establish a long-term care act to house all
policies affecting seniors and to have the responsibility of all
long-term care facilities fall under the Office of the Ombudsman.
said the province needs exponentially expand its efforts in making
seniors, nursing and special care home residents’ rights a priority.
She said the demographic continues to shift and in 15 years, a quarter of the population will be 65 or older.
talked about this with the previous government,” she said. “Again, I
don’t think one is meeting the needs enough to put together an adequate
start for people to age in place.”
Codiac RCMP are warning the public about a case of fraud that appears to be aimed at seniors.
On Friday, the police received three similar fraud complaints targeting elderly people over the telephone. In one case, a victim was defrauded of more than $5,000 and two other victims were targeted but did not provide money to the fraudster.
“In one of the cases, the victim received a phone call claiming that a family member had been in an accident. The other calls were similar,” says Const. Damien Thériault. “The caller said the family member needed money urgently because the accident wasn’t covered by insurance. The victim was asked to go buy a pre-paid Visa card and give the caller the card number and CSV code.”
Police are warning people, especially seniors, to check the facts before sending money anywhere, no matter how urgent the situation may seem. A call to another family member can confirm or disprove the information.
Letter of the Day Times & Transcript June 14, 2014
Seniors show how activism directs political goals
To The Editor: How easy it is to forget!
Ten years ago, when a New Brunswicker needed nursing home care, it often spelled financial ruin for the family. It was then part of the assessment to include family income and assets when determining what daily fee a resident would pay. Fees were different at various nursing homes, the most expensive approaching $200 per day. This was unacceptable. Often a spouse (usually the wife) would be left at home unable to cover the costs of maintaining the necessities of life. It was a very difficult time for New Brunswick seniors. These policies were extremely unfair. This was not the situation in other parts of Canada. Finally a group of citizens who advocated for our seniors said enough is enough.
In 2004, representatives of many seniors’ organizations in New Brunswick, both English and French, met to form a coalition which would lobby the government to take another look at these unjust policies and consider the necessary changes. This group became known as the Coalition for Seniors and Nursing Home Residents’ Rights. It is a voluntary organization and does not receive government funding.
For 10 years this coalition has lobbied for changes in policies and they have seen many successes. No longer is assets part of the assessment. Daily rates are the same for every nursing home ($113 per day; not cheap). The ombudsman will oversee nursing and special care homes – he just needs enough resources to do the job!
On June 20, the Coalition for Seniors and Nursing Home Residents’ Rights will meet for its annual meeting. It will be a celebration of 10 years of achievement and a look to the future and what still has to be done. Plan to attend. The seniors of New Brunswick benefit every day from the work of this coalition.
We thank them for their tireless efforts on our behalf!