NOTE: A social media version of this release is available at http://novascotia.ca/news/smr/2013-09-04-Seniors-Care-Plan/ . Hi-res, downloadable photos, audio and video clips will be added after the event.
Seniors will have more options to live better in their own homes and communities with a new multi-year plan focused on the continuing care of Nova Scotians and their families.
Living Better: Nova Scotia’s Plan for Seniors’ Care is a comprehensive and balanced plan to expand home care support and improve long-term care options for seniors who are no longer able to live at home.
“Meeting Dorothy Miles in Halifax and seeing what the Senior Citizens Assistance Program did to help her maintain her home, and knowing what home care services can do to help others stay in their homes were major considerations in this new approach to continuing care,” said Premier Darrell Dexter. “But for some seniors, living at home just isn’t an option.
“In those cases, I want the long-term care options available to be every bit as comfortable as the homes they’re leaving. The Living Better plan is about balancing both.
As part of the multi-year plan, the government is putting new resources into continuing care, including more than 1,100 new and replacement beds at nursing homes and residential care facilities around the province. Further investment in home care will give families more services and up to 1,500 new home-care spaces.
The premier made the announcement today, Sept. 4, at The Birches Home for Special Care in Musquodoboit Harbour, Halifax Regional Municipality, the first long-term care home that will go into planning for replacement under the Living Better plan.
Debbie Gavas-Spence has been a licensed practical nurse at The Birches for more than 25 years. Her father, Doug Westhaver, is now a resident of the facility after living independently in his home for 60 years.
“Leaving your home and moving into a nursing home can be a huge adjustment – it was for my father,” said Ms. Gavas-Spence. “It can be difficult for seniors who often feel a loss of privacy and independence. Our family experienced this first hand with our father.
“These new facilities will have individual rooms so residents have their own personal space, allowing them to have private visits with family and friends. I am delighted that we will have such a facility in our community. It means a great deal to people like my father and family.”
Today’s announcement gives families the peace of mind they need to know that they will have planning options into the future, including:
— new support for home care, including the creation of new home care spaces that are expected to help an additional 3,000 seniors live well at home
— an increased focus on personal planning and greater flexibility around home care options
— adding almost 350 new beds to the continuing care system
— adding more than 750 replacement beds in existing long-term care homes that need to be modernized
“This government wants to help seniors stay in their homes for as long as possible and so we are committed to making it easier for people to live well at home,” said David Wilson, Minister of Health and Wellness. “There will be a greater focus on the needs of seniors and offering more options to them.”
Mr. Wilson said the new and replaced facilities, like The Birches, will be built to modern design standards that focus on providing home-like surroundings including larger rooms for residents and more opportunities for independent living.
“On behalf of the Birches Nursing Home Community, the Birches Residents and its Staff, and the board of directors, I want to say how thrilled we are with this news,” said Elliott Sutow, board chair of The Birches. “Many people in the Birches Nursing Home community have worked very hard over the years to inform government of our pressing need for a replacement home. We have been heard, and we are grateful for the government’s response.”
Premier Dexter noted there are many improvements underway to make life better for Nova Scotia seniors.
“The province is working to make home care more accessible, we’re supporting caregivers, strengthening community solutions and investing in more technology and equipment,” Premier Dexter said.
“Some of those programs include the Senior Citizens Assistance Program, Personal Alert Service, Medication Dispenser Technology, Supportive Care, Home Care and Caregiver Benefit Program. This is about standing up for seniors by making life a little more affordable, and giving them options to continue living healthy, happy lives.”
Continuing care services are available to all Nova Scotians who require ongoing care, whether for a short period or longer term. Services range from home care supports and specialized equipment, to beds in nursing homes. These services are provided in a client’s home, a residential care facility or a nursing home.
For more information, go to http://novascotia.ca/health/ccs/ .