Picking People's Pockets: Elder Care Reform in Alberta

Dramatic changes have taken place in Alberta with respect to how we care for our elders. We are slowly moving towards an American model of private enterprise that brings with it serious issues that need to be publicly debated. These issues include:

  • The use of jargon, such as “supportive living” and “aging in place,” that disguise the fact that seniors living with disabling medical conditions are being thrust from public health care facilities leaving families with two options. They can either care for the loved one themselves (which sometimes involves quitting their job) or pay out of pocket to a private for profit eldercare facility.

In the first scenario, untrained and unsupported families will face burn out – sooner or later - as they attempt double duty (caring for unwell elders and raising their families).

In the second, families are cast into financial crisis. Eldercare costs can run as high as $4000 per month per family member. They are being nickeled and dimed every step of the way. This burden eats away at family assets and savings (threatening to leave them with little money for their own retirement years) or, worse, plunges them into poverty.

  • The cost of eldercare in unregulated private eldercare facilities is driven up by rising administration expenses. Billing clerks are replacing nurses.

  • No one is “minding the store” in new unlicensed and unregulated eldercare facilities.

Come learn more about the faulty assumptions behind this new model of paying for elder care and its negative impact on quality of care and quality of life. Come learn about where we went wrong, and how we can fix it.

Speaker: Wendy Armstrong is a Registered Nurse and internationally acclaimed author, public speaker and policy analyst from Edmonton, Alberta. Former President and Executive Director of Alberta Chapter of Consumer’s Association of Canada, she remains a current member, in addition PharmaWatch, and the Canadian Health Economics Research Association.

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