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Ralph Klein has gone and it is time to retire Ralph's World. Thanks to all of you who have supported this venture by contributing material and through your comments. It has been fun.

Should we get another blog underway? Let me know your thoughts by e-mailing me at johnnyslow@gmail.com.

John Slow
January 1, 2007

Thursday, March 11, 2004

Freddie's Diary - Article 7 

SENIORS PROGRAM FIRST IN CANADA. The Capital Health Authority had a good idea on how to save dollars and help frail senior citizens at the same time. The program was called "Choices" Choices would cost $50 a day per client, including physician costs and medication as opposed to $75 a day, plus physician costs in a continuing care facility. It was said that a similar program was operating in 15 communities in the USA.

Two of these centers are already in operation in Edmonton with a third to open in the fall. This program is aimed at seniors 75 and older. Seniors go to the centers from one to five days a week to get a full range of medical, social and supportive services. Transportation is provided. There are also overnight treatment and rest beds at the centre. Choice also provides home services to its members, including 24-hour emergency help, personal care, homemaking and meals. There are no fees for the basic Choice program. Each Choice centre can hold 360 seniors. April 3, 96, EJ. Does anyone know if this program is still in operation? In Klein's Alberta this program seems too good to be true.

GOVERNMENT OFFICIALS WERE DELVING INTO SENIOR'S INCOME TAX DATA AT WILL WITHOUT WRITTEN CONSENT. Revenue Canada and the Alberta Seniors Benefit program are putting an end to a situation in which the province was allowed unauthorized access to seniors' income-tax data government officials say. The action comes as the provincial privacy commissioner's office investigates a complaint by the Alberta Council on Aging. Alberta Seniors Benefit provides 144 489 of Alberta's estimated 274 900 seniors annual cash benefits of up to $2350 a year for singles and up to $3500 a year for couples. These benefits are income sensitive. The province uses the income tax data to ensure that wealthy people do not cash in on student's loans, health care subsidies and income security programs. The government is now required to acquire a written consent before touching anyone's personal data. September 13, 1996, Calgary Herald.

SENIORS GROUP URGES INQUIRY INTO SUFFOCATION, August 6, 1996, EJ. According to the medical examiner's report on Nov. 24, 1995 at 10:21 Clark pressed a call bell that would electronically summon staff from the facility's front desk. No one responded. About 40 minutes later, a staff member who was looking for a colleague entered the room and found Clark in a wheelchair with his head slumped forward, and disconnected from the ventilator. Efforts to revive him failed. The Fatalities Review Board made the decision against holding an inquiry into the suffocation death of George Clark, resident of the Good Samaritan Centre in Mill Woods.

Jennifer Fortier of Grand Chache also suffocated to death on the center's respirator unit, 3 months after Clark. A request for an inquiry from her father Pierre Fortier was granted.

We know from recent news that seniors and the disabled are still loosing their lives at long term care centers. These deaths are rarely thoroughly investigated, which leaves the public to believe the lives of the elderly and disabled are of little value.

HOSPITALS UNSAFE FOR SENIORS EVEN IN EMERGENCIES. In September of 1996, Jean Innes, who chairs the Independent Seniors Community Health Council and Linda Sloan, president of the Staff Nurses Association of Alberta advise sick seniors to take an advocate with you should you need to go to any hospital. Geriatrician Dr. Janet McElhaney, who helped establish an acute risk management clinic for seniors at University Hospital, agrees that informal advocates are necessary. Members of Seniors Action and Liaison Team have handed out leaflets warning seniors not to go to hospital alone, even in an emergency. The reason for this advice was that there was not enough staff at hospitals to take care of the needs of the patients. Is it any different at 2004??

MIDDLE CLASS SENIORS HURTING THE MOST. Government cutbacks are slashing the incomes of middle class senior citizens, say representatives of seniors' groups. "It’s the middle income senior who is hurting the most," said Tony Storcer, vice-president for the Alberta Council on Aging. A couple with an annual income of $30 000 has lost about $8 000 due to tax increases, income tax changes and support program cutbacks at the federal, provincial and municipal levels of government, Storcer said.

Jerry Pitts, president of the Alberta Council of Aging, said the benefit program is providing less money to recipients at higher cost than before the start of the cutbacks. Now there are 65 programs instead of 10. "Seniors often don’t know how to apply for benefits".

LAMENT OF THE OLDER WORKER WITH NO PENSION. It's nice to see the decline in the unemployment rate particularly in Alberta. However, for the thousands of older workers dumped from the system in recent years it is still virtually impossible to find a job. Age discrimination is rampant today and mature job seekers have no recourse to level the playing field. This is Canada's hidden tragedy. Stats Canada should report older worker unemployment rates for a more meaningful look at Canada's job picture. September 1996, EJ.

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