Next week has been declared Seniors’ Week in Saskatchewan. This special week encourages all of us to recognize how important seniors are every day in every community. Whether in the five per cent of our seniors in long-term care, or the majority who are active and engaged, all are a vital part of our community and our province.
The Government of Saskatchewan is committed to improving the health and well-being of seniors, the people who have worked to help shape our great province. The Seniors Income Plan has tripled since 2008, from $90 a month to $270. Under the Seniors’ Drug Plan, seniors pay only $25 per approved prescription.
The types of housing needed by seniors varies greatly. There is assistance available for every level of independence, from those in their own homes, to those who may require full-time care. The Seniors Education Property Tax Deferral Program was launched in April of this year. Through this program, senior homeowners with household incomes under $70,000 may be able to defer the education portion of the property taxes for their principal residence through a repayable loan. This program provides low to moderate income seniors greater financial flexibility so they can stay in their homes longer.
Almost $50 million has been invested in the past decade to develop 514 seniors’ independent social housing units in our province. The Saskatchewan Housing Corporation owns and operates 10,437 seniors’ units. Locally, there are 442 seniors’ units, administered by the Moose Jaw Housing Authority.
The Personal Care Home Benefit provides senior citizens with financial assistance of up to $2,000 per month to help with the cost of living in a licensed personal care home. $21.2 million has gone towards the Personal Care Home Benefit since its development in 2012. Seniors in Moose Jaw are fortunate to be able to choose between seven different personal care homes.
The Government of Saskatchewan is committed to a publicly-subsidized long-term care system for individuals whose needs cannot be met through community and home-based services or other housing options. Since 2009, 13 long-term care facilities have been replaced across the province, including a new 225 bed long-term care facility was built in Swift Current.
Our Dr. F.H. Wigmore Regional Hospital has the capacity to better serve the needs of seniors since it was completed in 2015. I recently heard from a local senior that his friends from Saskatoon visiting him in the hospital were very impressed with our new health care facility. The Dr. F. H. Wigmore Regional Hospital is a great asset to our community.
A very informative booklet, Programs and Services of Interest to Seniors, outlines services available in Saskatchewan. One can be picked up from our office, or can be viewed online at the following address:
I am grateful for all our seniors have done for our city and province, and for all they continue to contribute to our community. We wish them good health and happiness as we celebrate Senior’s Week in Saskatchewan.