It’s time to change how we support seniors in Alberta
If you bring up the topic of how well seniors are supported in Alberta, chances are that most individuals will have a story to share about a senior they know whose housing, support or care needs were not addressed appropriately, or in a timely manner. You would hear frustration with the ‘system’ in general, which means different things to different people depending on the context of the conversation. While there are many appropriate options available to support seniors, there are gaps between various service providers, the information seniors receive and resource allocations that do not always make sense. Hardworking organizations, housing providers and front line staff are in place to offer services yet wait lists, bureaucracy and funding can make it difficult to assist those in need.
It’s time to change how we support seniors in Alberta. The Alberta Seniors Communities & Housing Association (ASCHA) is geared-up to move things forward in positive ways for Alberta’s seniors housing residents/tenants as we prepare for another provincial election season. ASCHA represents seniors communities across the province, including public and private providers and advocates on behalf of its members and Albertans in need of housing and support options. ASCHA’s noble cause is to empower seniors to have choice and a life of purpose wherein they are valued, honoured and respected. The Association is doing this through its “It’s Time Campaign” (#itstime) which will explore ways to build a better public understanding of the issues seniors and their families face so as to make navigating the complexities inherent in the system less complicated and frustrating. ASCHA will do this in collaboration with members, municipalities, stakeholder groups, government and other related associations.
Seniors housing and support providers also realize that the language surrounding seniors housing is inconsistent, and that seniors and their families often experience frustration. A study was undertaken to address barriers in terminology and understandings. Over 1100 responses were collected from Albertans which were used to inform ASCHA’s “What We Heard” Report around common terminology, which sparked the Association’s “Cut the Clutter” (#cuttheclutter) initiative. The report and its findings can be found on ASCHA website at: www.ascha.com/advocacy_cuttheclutter.
“ASCHA is at the forefront of leading collaboration on seniors housing issues. A new arrangement is in order, and it must be cooperative. Albertans want to see appropriate service options in their community. It’s an issue that will impact us all, as we are all in the process of aging.” – Raymond Swonek, ASCHA President
Service delivery providers and Albertans need their ideas and suggestions for improvement heard by policy makers in order to address major issues. It’s time to put ideologies and political leanings aside to ensure that Albertans have the supports they need. It’s time to do the right thing.