In his 2010 campaign platform, Premier Alward acknowledged seniors’ right to live with respect and dignity. Alward promised that he would help seniors to live in their homes longer, protect pensions, and improve access to wellness services, among other promises.
As yet, Premier Alward has not followed through on his 2010 campaign promises to:
-expand the mandate of the provincial Ombudsman to include nursing homes, special care homes and home care services
-establish a 1-800-SENIORS, toll-free hotline for people over the age of 65 looking for government information and services
-establish a special wellness clinics for seniors
-include a review of the value of work performed by home care workers (mostly women) which sometimes amounts to less than minimum wage
According to the 2006 Census, by the year 2026, approximately 25.7 % of New Brunswick residents will be over 65. We need to make changes to our long-term care system now.
Premier Alward must collaborate meaningfully with advocacy groups, like the Coalition for Seniors and Nursing Home Residents’ Rights, who put the needs of seniors first. If Premier Alward’s word is his contract, then it’s time to keep his word.
Premier Alward needs to be held accountable. He must work with New Brunswick residents to create a long-term care system that offers seniors dignity and respect.
Karolyn Martin, Julia Breneol, Beth Anne Dolan and Robyn Lippett are social work students at St. Thomas University.