Budget Bulletin Supporting Seniors

first_imgAFFORDABLE LIVING AND HEALTHY AGINGThe Province of Nova Scotia is committed to helping seniors livemore independent and fulfilling lives by providing support tohelp many make ends meet, increasing activity opportunities andencouraging participation and healthy lifestyle choices. Many programs and services offered by the Departments of Health,Community Services and Service Nova Scotia and MunicipalRelations, as well as the Senior Citizens’ Secretariat in 2005-06are focused on contributing to a more positive aging experiencein Nova Scotia. PROVIDING SUPPORT WHEN AND WHERE NEEDEDIn 2005-06, the province will freeze Pharmacare premiums toensure they remain affordable for seniors. This year, theprovince will make an additional investment of $16.9 million tocover increases in the cost of the program, bringing the totalannual investment in Pharmacare to nearly $120 million. With an investment of $500,000, the Department of Health willwork with partners to pilot the implementation of a comprehensiveand integrated stroke program that includes stroke prevention,emergency and acute care and rehabilitation. As well, thegovernment will continue to engage stakeholders in ongoing systemplanning related to the prevention of and improving outcomes ofpeople with heart disease and stroke. The department will invest $750,000 to increase the range of homecare services. An alternative level of care will allow seniors toremain at home longer and will defer or prevent admission tolong-term care facilities and hospitals. Also, $500,000 has beenallotted for a new Self-Managed Care Program for seniors andpeople with disabilities; this will provide some relief to homecare, long-term care and acute care services. This programrepresents an alternative option to home care services and allowsindividuals to take a more active role in managing their careneeds. To better meet the needs of individuals who require short-termrehabilitative care, the department will invest $1.65 million toestablish 50 new restorative beds. Introduction of these new bedswill help to increase access to the appropriate type of carepatients need while an assessment of the province’s continuingcare and alternative levels of care services is completed. An investment of $383,000 has been provided to the South WestNova District Health Authority for holistic palliative careservices and support. The program is congruent with the work ofthe Provincial Hospice Palliative Care Project and includes theaddition of a coordinator, as well as designated time fromprofessionals in a variety of disciplines who are part of aninterdisciplinary palliative care team. ENCOURAGING POSITIVE AGINGThe Senior Citizens’ Secretariat will spend $979,000 — anincrease of $207,000 over last year — to continue its work inelder abuse prevention, encouraging healthy active living forseniors, strengthening peer support and volunteer networks,informing seniors about the programs and services that areavailable to them, and developing seniors’ literacy and learningprograms. The secretariat will also continue the work ofpreparing Nova Scotia for an aging population through the TaskForce on Aging. The province will continue to support the Preventing FallsTogether program through Community Links, again providing$100,000 in 2005-06 to develop community-based services,supports, education and assistance to reduce falls among seniors. In addition, the Office of Health Promotion will continue toprovide physical activity enhancement grants to community groupsfor seniors’ programs, as well as hosting the Nova Scotia 55+Games; and the Physical Activity Strategy will be broadened toinclude seniors. ASSISTING WITH SAFE, AFFORDABLE AND ACCESSIBLE TRANSPORTATIONThe province’s commitment to helping rural Nova Scotians who needsafe, affordable and accessible transportation will be enhancedthis fiscal year. Funding to Community Transportation AssistancePrograms will increase by $153,000, to $550,000. The per capitacontribution will increase from $1.41 to $1.60 to help with fuel,maintenance and insurance for vehicles participating in theprovince’s Dial-A-Ride program. In addition, the program’scapital component, which is used to assist in the purchase ofaccessible vehicles, will double to $20,000 per vehicle from thecurrent $10,000 level. HELPING TO MAKE ENDS MEETThe province is also continuing several programs in 2005-06 thatwill help more low-income seniors live more safely andcomfortably in their own homes. The CAP Assessment Program, which helps protect Nova Scotiaproperty owners from dramatic increases in market valueassessment by limiting or “capping” the amount of annualassessment increases, will continue in 2005-06. The Property TaxRebate program assists low-income seniors by providing a rebateof up to $400 per year on their property taxes. The province will continue to provide funding for home repairgrants, giving many seniors and other low-income Nova Scotians upto $5,000 to make repairs, including furnace replacements. In the fiscal year 2005-06, the Department of Community Serviceswill continue to provide grants for home adaptations andincreased accessibility, as well as financial assistance toqualifying families who create parent apartments within orattached to their homes. -30-last_img read more