Social programming is fundamental to wellbeing and cannot be contingent on the revenues of oil and gas industry alone as the program funding will then fluctuate, thereby compromising the programs and program recipients.   We recognize social programs cost money and we recognize there must be a plan in place to keep the programs running during periods of low oil and gas revenue.

We call on our government to invest in the wellbeing of senior citizens and the vulnerable people of Alberta.  We charge the government to invest and lead in the industry of human/social services in order to demonstrate the promotion of wellbeing for all citizens.

Recommendations, submitted to Government from Alberta Council on Aging regarding the upcoming and future provincial budgets:

Ensure a clear business plan, matched with cost per action be developed to avoid further erosion of public health care.  Quality of life for seniors includes:

•    Helping senior citizens age in place
•    Promotion of a seamless continuum of care
•    A clear outline of standards of care both for Home Care and care providers/operators in facility and hospital to reduce potential of elder abuse, i.e. neglect
•    Protection for Persons in Care Act universally applied to all health services:  family homes, care homes, hospital and Home Care, whether privately or publicly funded
•    Increased funding to Public Home Care to ensure patient safety and quality of life wherever a person is within the continuum of care
•    Revised patient care funding formula to reward all care providers whether public, P3, non-profit or private operators to ensure quality care based on best practice

In order for senior citizens of the province of Alberta to enjoy the quality of life we are proud to promote such as aging in place, respect and dignity for all within a seamless continuum of care, additional monies will need to be allocated.  The reports from seniors, family members and care providers are that health care for seniors and vulnerable citizens receiving care is currently underfunded and unacceptable.  To maintain the previous bottom line means services to this group will continue to be underfunded.  We recognize if funding to health care is increased, income/revenue must be reviewed.  The government needs to seek other revenue sources such as a revised tax structure.

Gary Pool, President of Alberta Council on Aging  February 2013