Dean's Platform

Care for Calgary Seniors

What is happening?

Calgary’s seniors, or older adults, are an increasingly diverse group of people with a wide range of interests, skills, needs, and preferences, their age-ranges can traverse several generations and they are a vital part of our communities. The Age-Friendly Strategy was designed to support and prepare for Calgary’s aging population. The creation of this framework included the input and participation of older adults at each stage of its development. This present council is failing in that they have not addressed three major points which I find concerning. The distinct lack of long term care facilities in our city, good information services and a connection to community policing services.
 
The survey that took place in 2013 by a number of non-profit organisations developed a city strategy which was delivered to the council. Their vision was that our city would be a sustainable age friendly city by 2020. In my opinion they have failed.

At present there are two options available to families when it comes to seniors care, one is long term senior care facilities and the other is in home care which is widely unutilized in Calgary. I have serious concerns for Calgary’s seniors and this is what I will be doing should I be elected as Mayor.
Our cities senior long term care facilities should in my opinion eventually become a thing of the past and only used as a last resort when it comes to caring for the aged.

All seniors should have access to information, services and programs as this is a key factor in reducing the social isolation of seniors. Seniors who have limited vision, hearing, or English proficiency face additional barriers to access information and services.
 
Although the rate of seniors with access to the internet is increasing, many still do not have access, or only the internet for a small variety of online activities. Access to information and services is crucial to an age-friendly city because it is a precondition for achieving many results in the other areas.
Our city’s seniors programs have taken a back seat for far too long. Should you elect me into public office as your Mayor I will be advising council that the Age Friendly Strategy needs to be addressed ASAP to understand what can be realistically achieved over the next four years

This council should have long ago identified the future of senior care in our city and done more to promote the programs readily available to citizens in regards to “self-managed care”. 

What should be happening?

How are we going to make that happen?

I am very much a people person and care about humanity. My focus for the next 4 years will be improving the quality of life for people in our city including our senior citizens. I mentioned three areas I wish to address with the new council and they are as follows:

1. There is a distinct lack of long term care facilities in our city which needs to be addressed with the provincial government. This council should have been dealing with the situation but they have not. I will be the thorn in the side of our provincial government and will be relentless in my quest to have more facilities in our city. By having more long term care facilities/residences it will open up many more hospital beds and reduce turnaround time for EMS getting back out on our streets after an incident (Please look at my EMS platform topic).

2. Information is key, I intend to advise the new council that our city needs to fund and launch the Calgary Community Social Services (CCSS) department (Please go to the CCSS platform topic for more information). Having case workers from the CCSS senior’s department visit and discuss face to face is the way ahead. Having actual human interaction with someone from their city who can help them reach out and resolve their issues in a time of stress will be invaluable.

3. All seniors need to feel safe not just in their homes but also within their communities, it is vital to their mental health. The primary focus of the Police Community Support Officer (PCSO) program is one of community connection where officers regularly throughout their shifts visit and patrol senior’s communities and long term care homes. A visual throughout our city of PCSOs is essential to a senior’s state of wellbeing. This program is the community Policing connection our city has lacked for far too long. I have researched this policing program for many years, and it has been running for three decades in Europe so it’s nothing new to the world of policing. Please go to the police platform topic of my campaign website for more information on the PCSO program.

This council has approved over 30 new communities to be built in our city. When developers come to council to present their development plans, I will be advising council and administration that all communities are to be age friendly environments for seniors prior to their approval. Also the controversial document “The guide for local area planning” which lays out how new communities should be will be amended with age friendly requirements moving forward. 

As your future Mayor I need to advise the new council to invest in senior care. COVID has brought to light both the failures and dangers of our care homes. In some cases 1 member of staff looks after 10-15 residents over a 24 hour period. For the best care possible it should be in the senior’s home and a 1 to 1 ratio. Should I be elected as your Mayor I want to fly the flag at provincial level and promote the concept of “choice”. In-home care is essential for the best health care outcomes with seniors. No one likes the thought of a monopoly when it involves health care.
 
Alberta Health Services (AHS) and their Self-Managed Care concept is, in my opinion, the future of our city’s seniors care programs. This Care model is a great program that is currently utilized by Calgary’s citizens.

The idea of “building more beds” is not a realistic way to solve the issue of an aging population especially in a post COVID-19 environment. Building more beds is the current belief system, but it is changing. Most of the care requirements an elderly person needs can be delivered within their home. The home care model is sustainable and far more efficient than building more beds.

Of course some seniors are not able to remain in their home due to physical challenges, mobility or unsuitable living conditions and this is where care facilities would be utilized. Recently at the World Economic Health Forum in Davos Switzerland stated “the hospital rooms of tomorrow, look a lot like the living rooms of today”.

I will be looking to promote the Self-Managed Care concept and connect with the provincial government to further develop programs with professional health care providers already running these programs in our city.

I hope to facilitate collaboration efforts with caregivers and the provincial (AHS) departments to accelerate “the self-managed care” model in our city. Families will then have the help and advice needed to make important decisions about care for older family members.

I am not a professional in this field and do not have all the answers, but I am passionate about people having choices and being able to live a good life.