Stettler seniors show how much they care

Recently, I wrapped up a 23-town, two-week, Alberta-wide tour to talk to seniors and caregivers

Dear Editor:

Recently, I wrapped up a 23-town, two-week, Alberta-wide tour to talk to seniors and caregivers on the various issues and challenges they face.

It has been a pleasure to meet with seniors and frontline staff across the province.

The generosity of drop-in centres, lodges, staff and residents has been tremendous. It’s clear Alberta seniors in long-term care have many great staff members who truly care about them.

I would like to thank everyone who attended the meeting in Stettler on Feb. 26, as well as the people I met while touring the community for sharing their input.

While conversations have varied from place to place on tour across the province, a few key themes stick out as concerns that are province-wide.

Several people spoke about how they are afraid to speak up against AHS for their loved ones due to fear of retaliation. That isn’t acceptable. Seniors and family members need to be able to speak up about the service they receive from Alberta Health Services and the government.

In the north, residents raised concern that the rerouting of medevac flights to Edmonton International Airport will cost lives.

In lodges I visited, residents indicated they are satisfied where hot, home-cooked meals are served and they want to keep it that way.

Residents also want to see couples able to stay together when in long-term care and are favour physician support in planning for aging care.

In all 23 towns I visited, it was great to see strong support for my private member’s Bill 208: The Seniors’ Advocate Act, which would create a permanent position for an advocate to work on seniors’ behalf. The position would be independent and report to the Legislature to hold the government accountable for the services seniors receive.

I will be bringing these issues forward to government.

Seniors issues are some of the most complex and misunderstood issues. This tour has broadened my appreciation for the issues seniors face, and will have a significant impact on the development of Wildrose Official Opposition policy in this area.

To all the great people I met in Stettler, thank you for taking the time to talk. I would like to encourage everyone to find me on Facebook and keep in touch.

Kerry Towle,

MLA for Innisfail-Sylvan Lake

Wildrose Official Opposition seniors’ critic