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September 10, 2021

Senior Advocate: Politicians Should Look to Keep Aaging Population Out of LTC Homes

Written By: 660 City News
Home Instead CAREGiver and senior looking at mail
CALGARY (660 News) – With a federal election on the horizon and many still feeling the effects of the pandemic, care for seniors has been top of mind.

Debbie Franchuk, who is the co-owner of Home Instead, says politicians should be focused on keeping seniors in the houses they live in now instead of moving them into long-term care.

“The best place to care for seniors is in their familiar environments, where they’re surrounded by [people] who know them,” she said.

She says that leaving seniors in a familiar environment improves longevity where moving can create a number of challenges.

It can be a cost-effective way to care for the aging population, Franchuk says, as some seniors do not need 24/7 care.
“It is way more effective to be able to deliver what they need in those environments to take care of someone in an acute care bed is extremely expensive.”

She adds she believes governments are well-intentioned when it comes to senior care, but she doesn’t think that political leaders have explored all the options.

“I think myself being a nurse who works in acute care, I wasn’t really aware of what was happening out in the community until I became a home care nurse and knew what we could do in the community. So, I think there’s a disconnect,” she said.

Fred Franchuk is co-owner of Home Instead and said a voucher system should be considered, which could make home care a more accessible option.

“Most Albertans are not happy with the home care that they’re getting because it’s very much a task-driven model. Somebody’s come in to give the senior a bath (but) if that senior needs additional support and it’s not on the checklist, they don’t get it.”

Right now, home care is only available in certain situations–usually short-term–and doesn’t cover all the needs, like in subsidized facilities. Franchuk suggests the government could select vendors that Albertans would choose from both private and public.

“If the senior indicates they need with maybe more time or maybe they need other supports in the home, it might get reported up. But the system is so big and so complex and now with COVID, the whole system has slowed down.”

As of Thursday’s COVID-19 update, 31 long term care or supportive living sites are experiencing COVID-19 outbreaks, including eight in Calgary and 18 in Edmonton.

Roughly three-quarters of COVID-19 deaths in Alberta have been linked to long term care facilities.