The following is from the Calgary Chapter newsletter.
Upcoming Member Event
Available Benefits for the Older Adult
Please Join Us! Register Here
When: March 28, 2018
Time: 1:30-3:30 p.m.
Cost: $2 payable at the door. Free for CARP Members who show their card.
Topic: Available Benefits for the Older Adult
The government has many programs that may benefit you! Come and hear the experts on what is available for caregivers; for health issues support; housing; and many others.
Speakers: Tamara Walker, Stakeholder Engagement Advisor with Alberta Seniors and Housing, Government of Alberta, and Lisa Despas, Citizen Services Specialist with Service Canada, Government of Canada.
Light refreshments will be provided.
Thank you to our Event Sponsors!
The McLennan Group Insurance
Greg McCaffrey -Calgary Chapter President
Message from the Chapter President
Here is an update on some of the CARP Activities from the last half of 2017 and leading into 2018:
CARP National hosted a lobby day in Ottawa to support CARP’s Pension Protection Campaign. More than 70 MPs and other senior bureaucrats came to hear about CARP’s efforts to protect older Canadians’ pensions.
CARP Calgary sent two representatives to the CARP National Chapter Congress in Toronto. This year’s congress was dedicated to educating chapter representatives about what resources are available and how to use these resources for the benefit of the chapter members. Andrew Scheer, leader of the federal Conservative Party, was a guest speaker. CARP historically has invited leaders of national political parties to answer questions about their party’s position regarding older Canadians. Last year’s special guest was Justin Trudeau.
CARP Calgary hosted CARP’s VP Advocacy, Wanda Morris, at our November event. Wanda had the opportunity to speak to our Calgary members, as well as meet with the Alberta Minister of Seniors and Housing. CARP Calgary’s Advocacy committee will continue the dialogue on affordable seniors’ housing with the provincial government in 2018. Wanda listed CARP’s Top Five for 2018, which are listed in the article about her visit.
CARP Calgary is participating in the National Day of Action on February 21, 2018. CARP is working with the Canadian Federation of Pensioners and the Canadian Labour Congress and, hopefully, other partners to deliver a message to MPs from their constituents. We believe it is time for Parliament to change Canada’s insolvency legislation to protect seniors. This is not a partisan issue, it is a Canadian issue. CARP Calgary will request a meeting with our elected representative to deliver a letter asking for support for pension protection.
CARP Calgary will continue to provide events and information on these and other important issues concerning older Canadians in Calgary. We invite you to join us in working to enhance the quality of life for all Canadians. You can volunteer to work on one of our committees by contacting CARP Calgary Chapter 10. Our contact information is provided in this newsletter.
Past Event Information
November 2017 Meeting
Photo: Past Event Information- November 2017 Meeting
Our sponsors for this meeting were Chartwell Retirement Residences, Home Instead Senior Care, Zoomer Wireless, and Sobeys-Safeway-IGA-National Pharmacy Group (bottled water donor).
Our speaker was Wanda Morris, CARP’s VP Advocacy. Wanda is a well-known media commentator and Chartered Professional Accountant. She has a background of policy development and fundraising expertise in the not-for-profit sector, as well as practical business insight. She also writes an excellent column that appears in major newspapers across Canada. Wanda has accomplished much on the advocacy front since she joined CARP.
Wanda’s outline about aging in Canada included these facts:
- More people are 65 and over (6 million Canadians) than are under 15.
- 1,000 people turn 65 every day.
- Centenarians are the fastest growingdemographic group.
- By 2030, people 65 and over will make up ¼ of the population.
Also, Wanda mentioned an interesting fact – CARP has more members than paid members of all political parties in Canada! 98% of CARP members polled said that they voted in the last federal election.
CARP’s wins include:
- Expanded CPP and OAS eligibility rolled back to 65
- Additional $6 billion for homecare
- $1,000/year for Canada’s poorest seniors
- Nova Scotia and Ontario – roll-back of pharmaceutical co-pays
The healthcare challenges facing retirees include:
- Extended wait times for diagnostic tests and medical procedures
- Lack of a family physician
- Long waits in emergency rooms
- Sky-rocketing health-care costs
- People who are not wanted in an emergency room setting, “get out of my emergency room” or GOMER
Wanda said that 25% of single seniors, primarily women, live in poverty. Over 100,000 seniors who are eligible for GIS do not receive it. She listed these items that poor seniors face:
- OAS and GIS payments that don’t reflect living as a single, or in some locations
- Significant GIS claw-backs
- Increasing rents, lack of affordable housing, homelessness
- Medical aids expenses
Relatively well-off seniors are living longer too and still face increased costs for transport and long-term care, and they often support adult children and grandchildren financially.
Wanda listed CARP’s Top Five for 2018:
- Pension protection
- Long-term care
- RRIF reform
- access to housing and long-term care thatkeep couples together and near their family and community
- Stand Up Straight – a campaign to incorporate movement exercises and to increase physical fitness for seniors across the country to get moving and maintain their health
Have Your Say…
Improving Medication Safety in Seniors
People over the age of 65 take the most amount of medications, which might include prescription, over-the-counter, or supplements.
Do you ever wonder if these are safe to take or if they are actually benefitting you? Most times medications can help improve wellness by controlling a chronic condition such as high blood pressure, but sometimes they can be inappropriate and might cause problems and side effects leading to falling and memory problems.
How good is our healthcare system about ensuring that medications older people take are safe and effective? This is your chance to provide input into a strategy that Alberta Health Services is developing on Appropriate Prescribing and Medication Use in Seniors.
Please feel free to contact Safia Khalfan, Practice Consultant and Pharmacist, about this topic to share your views at: 587-975-9996 or at [email protected]. Or, you can answer the questions in the survey – click here.
Resources of Interest
The Aging Horizons Bulletin
The Aging Horizons Bulletin (AHB) is an educational publication for the general reader. It reports on current research, and highlights persons, best practices, and items of interest. It sheds light on the aging process from a human development perspective. For more information, click here.
One upcoming ACAL event is the 2018 Physical Activity Forum – Move More, Sit Less, Sleep Soundly – on May 1st in Calgary. The cost is $50 before March 16, and $60 after.
We all want to be strong and healthy. But with the demands of today’s fast-paced culture, it can be a daunting task to find a healthy balance between vigorous physical activity, low activity, and sleep. This forum will provide an overview of the new Canadian 24-Hour Movement Guidelines, the evidence that informed them, and resources and ideas to support implementing these guidelines into practice. For information and to register, click here.
Calgary Seniors’ News Roundup
Read here for lots of news about CARP advocacy, many upcoming events in Calgary and area, and changes to the Alberta Human Rights Act.
Advocacy CARP Calgary
CARP Calgary’s Advocacy initiative for 2018 is to investigate the state of seniors’ housing in Calgary. We realize that this investigation is far more complex than we had imagined, but we are working hard to search out the facts, figures, and people with whom we need to consult.
In December we met with Minister Sigurdsonof Seniors and Housing. This gave us limited information so we are now digging deeper. We know that at some time we will need to meet with Sarah Hoffman, Minister of Health, because her ministry and that of Seniors and Housing are very interconnected; before that happens we will gather data from as many seniors-oriented organizations as possible. It is important that we have adequate knowledge to ask the best questions to help influence future plans for seniors’ housing.
We also met with Silvera for Seniors, an organization that manages seniors’ housing locations in Calgary. It is an advocate and provider of affordable homes and services for seniors.
We will soon book a meeting with the Alberta Senior Community Housing Association, which will enlighten us further on what types of housing are available, what types of housing are needed, how much government housing is available, how much funding will be provided, and what the time lines are.
CARP Calgary is also working with Wanda Morris, CARP Canada’s VP of Advocacy. She is very supportive our efforts.
Our goal is to help ensure that there is a long-term, adequate plan to provide for older adults as they age, both for housing and for the various levels of care needed as people advance in age.
We encourage you to visit CARP Calgary’s Facebook page, and Like it, for CARP news, and for tips and tricks for healthy ageing.
Submitted by Denise Hamilton
Advocacy CARP Canada
As Wanda Morris mentioned, CARP will be working mainly on five issues this year:
- Pension protection
- Long-term care
- RRIF reform
- Access to housing and long-term
- Stand Up Straight
City of Calgary information courtesy of Angie Catenacci, Age Friendly Administrator, Calgary Neighbourhoods:
- The Seniors Age-Friendly Strategy Update report was presented to the Standing Policy Committee on Community and Protective Services on December 6, 2017. The report focused on key indicators used to measure the age-friendliness of our city over time. The report was approved by city council members on December 18, 2017. If you’d like to watch the council session, please click here.
- Bill 210, Missing Persons (Silver Alert) Amendment Act 2017, was passed unanimously in the Alberta Legislature in December 2017. Members of the Age-Friendly Calgary’s Silver Alert action team were consulted about the bill before it was presented in the legislature. Bill 210 gives police services in Alberta the authority to release information publicly, including a medical condition, if they deem it necessary for finding a missing vulnerable person.
- Additional information is available at InformAlberta, an online directory of community, government, health, and social services maintained in partnership with Alberta Health Services and the City of Calgary, Calgary Neighbourhoods department.
Winter Walk Day 2018 – February 7
Open the door and go for it! Winter Walk Dayis held to encourage people across Alberta to be active outdoors in winter. More than 800 organizations and 100,000 Albertans took part last year. Participate this year! For more information, click here. The Alberta Centre for Active Living is one of the sponsors.
Age-Friendly Innovation Panel – February 8
Where: Kerby Centre, 1133 – 7 Avenue S.W. Time: from 6:30 – 8:00 p.m.
A panel of leaders will discuss how to meet the needs of older adults, including:
- solutions for keeping older adults active and independent in their homes
- supporting the safety, comfort, and dignity of older adults
- rethinking homes, communities, and healthcare for aging populations
You can register at [email protected] (preferred but not required).
Great Backyard Bird Count
The 21st Annual Great Backyard Bird Count (GBBC) is February 16-19, 2018. This is a free, fun event that helps birds! The Great Backyard Bird Count is a four-day annual event that creates a snapshot of where birds are around the world. We ask people to count birds for at least 15 minutes on one or more days of the count (Feb 16-19) and to enter their sightings at www.BirdCount.org. The information gathered by tens of thousands of volunteers helps track changes in bird populations on a massive scale. The GBBC is a joint project of the Cornell Lab of Ornithology and the National Audubon Society, with Bird Studies Canada as a partner. If you’d like to check the instructions, here is the link.
One of the least-liked parts of spring is tax time. Did you know that you can get help from the Kerby Centre, even if you are not a member? They offer free income tax preparation for 55+. You do need to set up an appointment. The income limits are:
- $30,000 for a single person
- $45,000 for a couple
Canada Revenue Agency hosts tax clinics to train volunteers to prepare income tax forms. For more information, click here.
Alberta Human Rights Act Amendments
Effective January 1, 2018, the Government of Alberta amended this act, including with respect to age discrimination. Click here and select “View Bill 23 (PDF)” to read the full amendment. It includes benefits for seniors, and this important information:
- Seniors only housing
- Seniors only housing will continue to be allowed so that older Albertans can choose to live together in a community of people at a similar life stage.
- The minimum age cut off for seniors only housing is 55 years of age.Communities can set age restrictions that are older than 55 as well.
- This applies to housing where all units are reserved for one or more people, at least one of whom is 55.