NDP Leader Cam Broten is leading a push for better seniors care in Saskatchewan – which he made a major focus during the spring session of the legislature.
Broten announced on the day he became NDP and Opposition leader that seniors care would be a top priority for the new NDP, prompting a flood of Saskatchewan people to come forward to share their family stories.
"What we heard from people like Carrie Klassen and Lynne Seaborne is that the quality of care seniors are receiving in care homes is unacceptable," said Broten. "The health, quality of life and dignity of our parents, our grandmas and grandpas, is too important to allow the Sask. Party to dismiss the concerns we all have. Saskatchewan people deserve more choices, more spaces and a much higher quality of care."
Klassen and Seaborne are among the chorus of Saskatchewan families who have come forward on behalf of their loved ones to talk about call bells going unanswered, residents being left on the toilet for hours and seniors missing meals – all because of chronic, dramatic understaffing.
Broten is calling for minimum staff-to-resident ratios and other standards in long-term care homes, but also pointed out there are not enough spaces for seniors. Among many who discovered there is no long-term care space available is Barbara Blyth.
Battling untreatable cancer and suffering from a broken leg, Blyth was turned away from the hospital because there were no beds, then turned away from long-term care facilities because there were no beds. She ended up in a women’s shelter.
Home care services are a common sense way to take pressure off seniors care homes while giving seniors the dignity and quality of life they can get by staying in their own home longer. But, even home-care services are being cut under the Sask. Party government.
Michael Lilley relied on home care to keep him out of the hospital or a long-term care facility. Like hundreds of others, he had his care services cut off and in a letter, was told to check “the yellow-pages” for help.
"A powerful measurement of a government is how it treats the most vulnerable of people," said Broten. "It’s a real concern that in such a strong economy, the Sask. Party is not stepping up to reverse the decline of seniors care."
Erin Morrison, NDP caucus office