September 26th, 2011
I am pleased to have the opportunity to share our party’s vision for seniors in this province. This is a great opportunity to discuss with Prince Edward Island’s CARP members the vision our party has set out to support seniors.
Since 2007, Liberal support for seniors has been highlighted with concrete actions. Our plan now is to make sure that we recognize the contribution Island seniors make to our province – and ensure that the appropriate support and services are available when needed.
We also want to make sure seniors have the support they need to lead independent lives for as long as possible. And second, we need to keep building a responsive and caring system.
For the past several years that evolution has focused on two realities. First we need to do more to ensure independence of Island seniors and second, our support must be dependable when seniors require services from government.
The Liberal commitment to Island seniors is to continue to improve and develop services and programs. If we are given the privilege to serve, we are proposing to do even more.
Expand the Seniors Emergency Home Repair Program:
In 2007, one of the first priorities for the new Liberal Government was to reinstate the Seniors Emergency Home Repair Program that the former Conservative government had previously slashed. Since it was brought back, 1,300 seniors’ homes have been repaired. The Liberal goal is to make this program more beneficial to Island seniors. Liberals will contribute 50 per cent of the cost of eligible repairs to a maximum of $2,000, up from the previous limit of $1,500.
Expand the Learning Elders Arts Program (LEAP):
Since 2008, more than 1,500 seniors have participated in LEAP – which enriches the lives of Island seniors through the arts. Professional artists teach disciplines like visual arts, dance, music and theatre. Due to its value and popularity, program funding will increase 50 per cent in 2012.
Enhanced Educational Opportunities for Seniors:
The Seniors Federation has a training program called “Computing for Seniors” that teaches seniors how to use a computer and the Internet. Liberals will provide additional funding to the Seniors Federation to expand this worthwhile program. This will allow more seniors to learn how to stay connected to their families.
Increased Access to Medications:
Since 2007, investments in medications for Islanders have increased by 46 percent. Reductions to the Seniors Co-Pay have saved Island seniors almost $1 million per year. Liberals will invest more in medications for Island seniors, including an addition $1 million over the next 2 years to assist Islanders dealing with high cost drugs.
Medication Review for Seniors in Long-Term Care:
Many seniors require multiple medications to maintain health. A review of medications will be provided to seniors living in long term care. Medication Review Program is proposed to begin in 2012.
Expanded Home Care:
Home care is a vitally important and growing part of Island health care. First and foremost, the program allows more Island seniors to stay in the company of family, friends, neighbors and community for longer periods of time. Increases to the program have been steady since 2007 – and the Liberals are now proposing to increase total investment in this area by $4 million by 2015.
Home Care Renovation Grants:
Many families and couples would like the option to care for a family member at home, but lack suitable space or facilities and can’t afford the cost of renovations. As part of the Liberals’ home care funding commitment, qualifying homeowners can access up to $5,000 to undertake renovations required in order to enable a family member to stay in the home.
Improved Supports for Seniors
New Long-term Care Beds:
Many Island seniors will require long-term care. Over the last five years, the number of beds available has grown to 1,052 from 975. Over the next 4 years, 75 new beds will be made available, giving our Island seniors among the lowest wait times for long-term care in Canada.
Manor Replacement and Seniors Housing:
Many seniors living in our public manors have benefitted significantly by the Liberals’ commitment to replace old long-term care facilities. The new manors in Souris and Alberton will be completed this Fall and construction is underway in Summerside, Charlottetown and O’Leary. Moving forward, new construction will also take place in Montague to replace Riverview Manor. In addition, new investments will be made in seniors housing and seniors care, including a new facility in Murray Harbour.
Dedicated Palliative Care Centre:
A $5.6 million dedicated palliative care centre will be built with expanded services for Islanders in need and their families. The facility will be completed by 2013 and will see an additional $800,000 in yearly operating support to promote quality end of life care for Islanders. In addition, palliative care services will be expanded to other locations in the province.
If we are to earn the privilege of forming government, we will continue this critical work and provide the programs and services that meet the needs of our seniors.
Leader of the Liberal Party of Prince Edward Island