Seniors built province; they deserve our respect

Just this past week, Wildrose Official Opposition seniors’ critic Kerry Towle

Just this past week, Wildrose Official Opposition seniors’ critic Kerry Towle, the MLA for Innisfail-Sylvan Lake, made a couple of stops on her provincial seniors’ tour in Stettler and Drumheller to discuss the future of seniors’ care in Alberta. Kerry toured several facilities across Alberta and met with groups of affected stakeholders to discuss the current state of care and its deficiencies. The public meetings were also a chance to discuss the new Private Members Bill 208 (Seniors’ Advocate Act) being sponsored by Mrs. Towle.

Overwhelmingly, concerns were brought forward with how the decisions are being made about where to place our seniors and the criteria used to determine placement. Time and again, concerns of people being moved from the communities where they had spent their entire lives were presented and the impact it has on families and the spouses of those seniors being uprooted.

Removing seniors from their communities has a definite ripple effect for family members that have found themselves unable to have regular contact with their loved ones due to distances and travel restrictions. Separating seniors from their spouses is becoming all to common in rural Alberta, which can result in adverse serious health consequences.

Alberta seniors built this province and they deserve to have their voices heard when it comes to decision-making. The decision-making process must also include the spouses and families many of whom are the primary caregivers for their family members. Many family members and seniors expressed that they feel their concerns are not being heard by the government.

The Wildrose Opposition will present solutions in the spring Legislative session set to begin Tuesday in the form of the previously mentioned Seniors’ Advocate Act, Bill 208, which will be sponsored by Mrs. Towle.

The proposed Legislation will allow the advocate to act in an independent agent to represent the rights, interests and viewpoints of seniors, their families and guardians.

Any reports coming from the advocate will be mandated not to divulge the names or any possible identifying information about the senior, their families or their guardians. The current lack of anonymity has also been a major source of apprehension and one of the major contributing factors to why some people have not come forward with their concerns.

Bill 208 the Seniors’ Advocate Act is an important piece of Legislation that I will be encouraging my colleagues in the Legislature from all parties to support on behalf of every Alberta senior.

If you are interested in this piece of Legislation, please feel free to contact our office at drumheller.stettler@assembly.ab.ca.


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