Demanding a commitment to a vision for seniors' needs


Miramichi Leader Wed Aug 11 2010 Page: A7 Section: OPINION
GUEST COLUMN - The Coalition for Seniors' and Nursing Home Residents' Rights will be keeping seniors issues on the forefront in the up-coming election. The coalition will be calling on all political parties to commit to its Vision document. 
It is time to put vision in seniors' needs. While the Graham government has made significant improvements to senior polices since 2006, it has neglected to address some key points that affect their daily lives. 
The coalition's Vision document highlights areas relating to the complaint and investigation procedure. An independent body such as the New Brunswick Ombudsman should be appointed to oversee seniors' issues. It is not appropriate for the government to investigate itself when a complaint is made by a senior. 
Complaints and investigation: That the Ombudsman and Auditor General offices have full legal authority and sufficient resources to scrutinize long-term facilities. 
Hours of care: That hours of care per day per resident in nursing homes be increased to 3.5 hours. That minimum staffing levels, strong monitoring and enforcement systems be legislated. 
Home support and aging in place: That home care services be allocated under the umbrella of the Extra-Mural Program. That seniors have a right to live in their communities, age in place and have access to well-trained caregivers when required. 
Veterans disability: That Veteran's Disability Pension not be calculated as income or linked to service related.
Home heating: That a standard heating assistance rebate program be developed setting out criteria on an application form identifying heat source, proof of purchase, household type and proof of income. That all residential heating be eligible for the (PST) eight per cent rebate. 
Ambulance fees: That the ambulance service be restored at no charge to all New Brunswickers. 
Annual user fees: That low income seniors (less than $28,000 a year) be exempt from user fees. 
Inspection reports: That nursing homes inspection reports be posted within 30 days and made available to the public. 
Resource centres: That appropriately-staffed resource centres be made available making access to pertinent information. 
Bill of Rights: That a concise and easily understandable Bill of Rights for seniors be established and made available. 
The coalition reiterates its stand relative to the Veteran's Disability Pension which is not to be calculated in the cost of living in a nursing home. 
Cecile Cassista is executive director of the Coalition for Seniors' and Nursing Home Residents' Rights in New Brunswick.
Les soins aux aînés: une affaire de vision
La Coalition pour les droits des aînés et des résidants des foyers de soins entend faire la lumière sur les préoccupations des aînés lors de la prochaine campagne électorale. Elle demandera aux divers partis politiques de s’engager dans une affaire de vision relative aux préoccupations de ce secteur de la population.
La directrice administrative de la Coalition, madame Cécile Cassista, croit qu’il est temps d’établir une vision quant aux préoccupations des aînés. Le gouvernement de Shawn Graham a apporté des améliorations considérables aux politiques relatives aux aînés depuis 2006, mais a négligé de s’occuper de certains autres problèmes qui affectent la vie de tous les jours.
Le document ci-joint accentue les questions qui sont toujours d’actualité quant à la qualité de vie des aînés. La Coalition demande que les enquêtes par rapport aux plaintes en provenance des aînés soient la responsabilité de l’Ombudsman. Il n’est pas approprié pour un gouvernement d’enquêter sur ses propres services.
La Coalition demande de plus que le nombre d’heures de soins directs aux résidants des foyers de soins soit augmenté à 3,5 par jour; que les soins à domicile soient offerts par un personnel compétent et bien formé; qu’on fasse le nécessaire pour que les aînés puissent vivre à l’endroit de leur choix; que le service gratuit du service ambulancier soit rétabli; que les frais annuels aux usagers soient gratuits pour les aînés gagnant moins de 28 000$; que le programme d’aide au chauffage soit établi selon des critères précis; que la pension pour raison d’invalidité des vétérans ne soit pas comptabilisée dans le coût pour habiter dans un foyer de soins; que les rapports d’inspection des foyers de soins soient rendus public dans les trente jours suivant leur achèvement; que le gouvernement établisse une charte des droits des aînés; et que des centres de ressources soient établis un peu partout dans la province.
Pour plus d’information, prière de communiquer avec:
Cécile Cassista
Directrice administrative
(506) 860-7682 or Cell: (506) 850-8286
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A commitment to a Seniors’ Vision
The Coalition for Seniors’ and Nursing Home Residents’ Rights will be keeping seniors issues on the forefront in the up-coming election. The Coalition will be calling on all political parties to commit to the Vision document. 
Cecile Cassista, Executive Director for the Coalition, says that it is time to put vision in seniors’ needs. While the Graham government has made significant improvements to senior polices since 2006, it has neglected to address some key points that affect their daily lives.
The attached document highlights areas relating to the complaint and investigation procedure. An independent body such as the New Brunswick Ombudsman should be appointed to oversee seniors’ issues. It is not appropriate for the government to investigate itself when a complaint is made by a senior.
The ten-point document speaks to other senior issues such as 3.5 hours of hands-on care for nursing home residents; home support provided by well trained workers; aging in place as a crucial option for seniors, the restoration of a free ambulance service; the creation of a seniors’ bills of rights; free annual user fees for seniors earning less than $28, 000 a home heating program established according to precise criteria, the establishment of resource centers for New Brunswick seniors; accessibility to Nursing Homes inspection reports within 30 days of their completion.
The Coalition reiterates its stand relative to the Veteran’s Disability Pension which is not to be calculated in the cost of living in a Nursing Home.
For more information contact:
Cecile Cassista
Executive Director
(506) 860-7682 or Cell (506) 850-8286
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