Canada needs a national seniors strategy

Letter to the editor by Bill Sundhu - Canada needs a national seniors strategy

To the Editor,

Canada needs federal leadership to create a National Seniors Strategy. An aging population means changing needs in housing, transportation, home and community care and support, a new Health Accord and adequate pensions.

Seniors are worried about their retirement. Seventy percent of Canadians do not have a private pension plan. The federal government ignores expert advice for improving the CPP and has raised the OAS to 67. The CPP needs improvements to help vulnerable seniors live in dignity. Tom Mulcair and the NDP will strengthen pensions and stop Harper’s plan to raise the retirement age to 67.

New Democrats will restore the $36 billion of planned Conservative Health Care cuts, work with the provinces to make necessary reforms and create a National Seniors Strategy that addresses adequate housing, assisted living, at home care needs and examine the viability of a national pharmacare plan.

Overwhelmingly, the evidence shows that the financial needs for many low-income seniors dictates that they go without some of their basic health needs in order to pay their rent.

The home support system is fragmented, underfunded, and at a breaking point. The goal is to stay independent at home for as long as possible – but, it’s harder than ever for seniors to get support.  Transportation is also a significant issue for many seniors.

Funding should be based on a long-term (10 year) plan for a home support delivery system that provides quality, cost effective services, includes family caregivers, and supports seniors to better manage their chronic physical and mental health needs.

A National Seniors Strategy is necessary to holistically address the needs of all seniors.  It takes leadership. New Democrats are committed to ensuring seniors receive the benefits and services they need. We care for each other. This core Canadian value is lost under the current federal government.

I have met with many seniors in my travels in Kamloops-Thompson-Cariboo.  We must respond to this challenge and work for a system where every senior can live in dignity and respect.

Bill Sundhu,

Federal NDP candidate,