Aug. 31, 2009
BATHURST (CNB) - Efforts to improve the long-term-care system in the province were officially outlined today in a new government document, Being There for New Brunswick Seniors, Our Progress in Long-Term Care.
Minister of State for Seniors Brian Kenny released the 30-page document at the K.C. Irving Regional Centre in Bathurst.
"The government's progress in long-term care is evidence of our ongoing commitment to seniors and of our preparation for the demographic challenges that lie ahead," said Kenny. "By taking action now we will be able to ensure that our seniors remain independent longer, and that high-quality, long-term-care services continue to be available in New Brunswick. Our province will be the place to be at any age."
The report provides facts and figures on New Brunswick's rapidly aging population, and the government's actions and commitment to support seniors in their desire to live independently for as long as possible, while also making sure that support services are available when needed. It describes the first steps of implementing the province's long-term-care strategy, Be Independent Longer.
The province's progress in long-term care is focused on wellness and disease prevention, quality services, innovation and sustainability.
"In 20 years, our senior population is expected to double," said Kenny. "If we want to have a sustainable long-term-care system, we must focus on wellness and active living, and be innovative in our efforts to make sure that quality services continue to be available both now and in the future."
The report indicates that the province is in the process of developing a network of community resource centres in partnership with non-profit groups, where seniors can get access to information on healthy lifestyles, illness prevention and disease management, as well as services such as foot-care clinics, blood-pressure clinics and caregiving workshops. Non-profit groups are also working with government to organize and host healthy lifestyle sessions.
Day-activity centres are being established to help families keep seniors at home and in their communities by providing daytime accommodations and activities while family caregivers work, attend appointments, etc. The day-activity centres are subsidized by government, but are operated by community or privately owned organizations.
The report also sets out choices for seniors who need support, and provides details on investments made to help them in their own homes, through affordable housing programs, or in special care homes and nursing homes. It discusses the issue of seniors waiting in hospital for nursing home beds, and points to a new capital renewal renovation and replacement plan being developed for the nursing home sector.
In 2009-10, the total budget for home support, special care home services and nursing home services will reach $436.2 million.
"We have made many improvements in long-term care since 2006, and we have more good news to come," said Kenny. "This progress report is a snapshot of the work we have done to date, and where we are headed strategically in long-term care."
MEDIA CONTACT: Judy Cole, communications, Seniors Services, 506-444-3522.