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Listening to our seniors

MLA Warren Michelson's column for the week of June 12, 2019
MLAsColumn_WarrenMichelson
Moose Jaw North MLA Warren Michelson

Abraham Lincoln said that "No man stands so tall as when he stoops to help a child.”

To all those who generously fill the role of father in someone’s life, you are to be commended; and Happy Father’s Day.  

As a child, I was always taught to respect my elders. In my adult years, I continue to have a tremendous respect for those in our community who have much more wisdom and life experience than I.  

I have been hearing the concerns of seniors, and those who are worried for the needs of seniors, in recent weeks. Our community showed tremendous support when our two local seniors associations presented their funding concerns to Moose Jaw City Council recently.   

Staying socially and physically active are the best ways to enhance good health, especially in the later years of life. Our senior centres are busy places, an indication that our local seniors are very aware of the importance of staying active. The number of people who came to City Hall when representatives spoke to city council shows that the people of Moose Jaw also appreciate the need to provide programming and suitable social facilities for our older citizens.  

The Government of Saskatchewan is committed to improving the health and well-being of seniors. While the previous Saskatchewan government closed 1,200 long-term care beds, our government has opened 15 new long-term care facilities. Budget 2019-20 will replace the Northlands Pioneers Lodge in Meadow Lake, fulfilling the commitments our government made to replace long-term care centres across the province. The budget also provides $1.1 million, an increase of more than $660,000, to the Alzheimer Society for the First Link program. First Link assists people who are newly diagnosed with dementia get the help they need as soon as possible. 

The Personal Care Home Benefit helps seniors with the cost of living in a licensed personal care home. The maximum benefit is now $2,000, up $200 from when it was originally introduced by our government in 2012.

After 16 years of no increases under the previous government, monthly benefits provided through the Seniors Income Plan have tripled since 2008. Under the Seniors’ Drug Plan, eligible seniors pay only $25 per approved prescription.

To help seniors stay active, Saskatchewan residents who are 65 years of age or older, or are turning 65 years of age anytime during the year, are eligible for a free annual provincial park vehicle entry permit, for a vehicle registered in their name. Seniors 65 and older who produce proof of age and Saskatchewan residency do not require an angling license.

A very informative booklet, Programs and Services of Interest to Seniors, outlines services available in Saskatchewan. One can be picked up from our office at 326 High St. West, or can be viewed online.

In spite of the additional supports our government has added, I understand that our seniors’ organizations and some of our seniors are struggling. I will continue to listen to their concerns and advocate for the needs of seniors in our community. They are deserving of our respect and consideration for all they have contributed to our province.  

Please contact our office to share your thoughts, or for assistance in accessing senior services.  We are at 326 High St. West, 306-692-8884, or email at moosejawnorthmla@shaw.ca.