WHEREAS the housing portion cost of long-term care has not been increased since 1995 and the provincial government has announced that as of August 1, 2003 it will increase rent rates by costs that equate to 40-48%;AND WHEREAS these increases are being required of a group of individuals who are on fixed incomes and who, in many cases, are helpless Albertans;AND WHEREAS these rate increases will cause many individuals to change their lifestyles because of their inability to pay for private rooms, forcing them to move into semi-private rooms;AND WHEREAS this rate increase does not adhere to the governments own policy requiring lodges to leave $265.00 per month of disposable income for seniors;AND WHEREAS many services like dental and eye care have been de-insured already, creating hardships for this fixed income group;
THEREFORE BE IT RESOLVED that the Alberta government be requested to rescind its decision to implement the 40-48% rate increase for long term care and to gradually phase in the rates over a four-year period to allow for seniors cost of living increases to help cover much of the added expenses.
On June 17, 2003 the provincial government announced that long-term care accommodation rates would be increasing. The reason given for this increase is to catch up with inflation rates, which have not been changed since 1994. Although the increases are noted as $12.00 per day for semi-private rooms, that $12.00 equates to a 40% increase and the private room increase equates to a 48% increase. These rates are scheduled to take effect on August 1, 2003, which means that individuals have less than two months notice of the rates increase. These fees are required of individuals who are on a fixed income and who are an independent group, many of whom are helpless. This large increase will conceivably cause a change in lifestyle for those who do not qualify for the subsidy but cannot afford the rates. The rate changes for a private room in the Peace Health Region 8 facilities for example will go from $991.58 per month to $1,469.12 per month, an increase of $477.54. In addition to these rates there are charges for laundry ($45.00) and other sundries ($5.00) per month that are also added to the monthly costs for residents. Within the Seniors Programs and Services Information Guide July 2003 – June 2004, the section relating to housing states that local management bodies setting rates must protect low-income residents and that they must ensure that each resident has at least $265 per month in disposable income. These new rates are in contravention of the provincial governments own policies relating to seniors housing and will cause some residents to lose this disposable income due to their fixed income situation.Our concern is that this 40-42% increase would not be given to other tenants/landlord situations and our seniors should not be treated this way. Another concern is that those seniors who do not have the necessary income to be able to maintain their status in these long-term care facilities will require their families to help to cover the costs, when many of these individuals are preparing for their own retirement. The provincial government is causing one generation to cover the cost of living for two generations in order to allow their loved ones to remain in their accustomed style of living, i.e. allowing them to remain in the private rooms vs. having to move to accustomed semi-private room.These costs should be gradually phased in over a period of years so that cost of living income increases to these seniors can keep up with the cost of increases to their living expenses.
The AAMDC has no resolutions in effect with respect to this issue.