Early in their tenure in the legislature, the UCP government axed Alberta's dedicated Seniors Advocate, rolling it into the Health Advocate's office. Since then, seniors in Alberta have had no advocate to address non-health care concerns. A Seniors Advocate needed to help seniors navigate housing, public services, income and financial supports. They would also provide important policy recommendations to the government, and conduct reviews on service providers to ensure seniors’ needs are being met.
For decades, advocates have been calling for systemic changes to the ways we provide care to seniors. Alberta's seniors' care system has been in crisis for far too long, and we have tragically seen the impacts of governments' inaction unfold in the devastating impacts that the COVID-19 pandemic has had on seniors in particular. Most recently, reports from the office of the Auditor General clearly laid out how we’ve failed seniors in long term care, especially during the early days of the pandemic.
Seniors in this province deserve an independent voice that can provide individual and systemic advocacy for themselves and their families. They deserve a Seniors Advocate with real teeth to conduct monitoring and analysis of seniors’ services in Alberta, and to make recommendations to government and service providers to address issues and make long-overdue changes to the way we provide care.