Quebec funds should deal with seniors’ dwelling care, help group says

The largest seniors’ organization in Canada is urging Quebec Finance Minister Eric Girard to focus his budget on home care and services for seniors, starting this year. Seniors also need direct assistance to keep up with inflation, the Fédération de l’âge d’or Quebec (FADOQ) said.

The federation believes that the province can no longer wait years before making the shift towards home care. Housing investment, the FADOQ said, is always needed because there are needs there, but developing home care and services is now a priority.

“This is what the majority of seniors want: to remain in their own environment,” said President Gisèle Tasse-Goodman on Friday.

The FADOQ represents around 550,000 members.

“We’ve been saying it for years: we have to get away from hospital-centricity. We must invest intensively in home care and services,” Tassé-Goodman said.

DIRECT HELP

The FADOQ network also wants Girard’s budget to provide direct assistance to seniors, who are being hit hard by the rising cost of groceries, rent and electricity, as they are already among the lowest tax bracket.

The Quebec Institute of Statistics reported that in 2019, people aged 65 and over had a median after-tax income of $25,500, “one of the lowest for any age category.”

“Many rely on fixed retirement incomes or the Guaranteed Income Supplement and have very low incomes,” said Tassé-Goodman. “Inflation hurts them even more.”

“It’s not very funny for some seniors who are living on little, with the Guaranteed Income Supplement, and who see the Hydro-Québec bill coming and there is an increase,” she said. “They’re pretty nervous. They have their hands full with the increase in the grocery bill. We see seniors who choose who take items from the shelves and put them back on the shelves or who take items out of their basket because they are not able to pay when they are at the cash register.”

She noted that there are also many things that can be done in housing, such as protecting tenants from rent increases in newer buildings.

— This report by The Canadian Press was first published in French on March 18, 2022.

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