The future of senior citizens in Alberta shines a little bit more brightly after some major announcements at the 2016 Alberta Seniors Communities & Housing Association (ASCHA) Convention and Trade Show which was held in Red Deer on Wednesday.
The event usually brings together more than 300 delegates representing seniors housing operators/providers as well as guest speakers including Lori Sigurdson, Alberta’s minister of seniors and housing.
During her speech, Sigurdson touched on the provincial budget and highlighted that over the next five years the Alberta government is looking to funnel $1.2 billion into senior housing.
Of that money, at least $60 million will be used for upgrading fire and safety systems in 6,600 senior lodges and continuing care units across Alberta.
Sigurdson said the government is looking at focusing on four main points in relation to assisting senior citizens.
She specified that the areas they are looking at allocating funds are increasing both the availability and quality of housing and integrating more services and supports for senior citizens.
“By focusing on these main priority areas, I am confident that we will make a significant impact on Albertans in the short and longer term,” said Sigurdson.
Although she clarified that the money being spent on Alberta will assist the province as a whole instead of senior citizens specifically, she also added the money being spent would help further Alberta’s economy as well.
“This investment doesn’t just build homes, it will also create jobs locally and across the province. It will put Albertans back on track and move Alberta forward.”
Sigurdson also announced the government would be accepting the Association’s request for a $150,000 grant. One of the major ways the grant money will be spent is helping to create an online senior housing directory as well as further education within the Association’s members.
Irene Martin-Lindsay is the executive director of ASCHA and said with this grant she hopes to continue the organization’s efforts in developing a provincial housing plan for senior citizens.
“We are working with every other organization that is impacted. There is the Alberta Continuing Care Association, there is the Alberta Network of Public Housing agencies and we are working with all of them to try to get all of our voices to make a housing plan strategy for this province,” said Martin-Lindsay.