The province is expanding two continuing care programs to give more seniors the support they need to stay in their homes and communities longer.
Premier Darrell Dexter announced Feb. 6 that the province has changed the Supportive Care and Personal Alert Assistance programs to help more Nova Scotians, mostly seniors, receive the care they need at home.
"No one wants to see a loved one forced to give up his or her independence," Dexter said. "We heard from many families who told us that, with a little extra support, their loved ones could stay in their homes longer and still live independently.
"We are ensuring these programs actually get to those who need them. These changes mean it will be easier to qualify for home care programs and more Nova Scotians will get the support they need to stay in their homes and communities longer."
Both programs are campaign commitments and were launched in 2011. Changes to the programs are effective immediately.
The Supportive Care Program helps people who have difficulty remembering and concentrating. Eligible recipients receive $500 per month for home support services such as respite and personal care and meal preparation. People with low incomes can also be reimbursed up to $495 per year for snow removal.
"This extra support helps families rest a little easier," said Dexter. "By focusing on home care and other support services, government is helping seniors live their lives with grace and dignity, close to their family and friends."
The Personal Alert Program provides up to $480 a year to low-income seniors who live alone and have a history of falls, to buy a personal alert system.
Tom MacNeil, district manager for seniors programs with the Annapolis Valley District Health Authority, works with many people who need supports and services to live independently.
"We need to think differently and look for innovative solutions, and the changes announced today are good steps in that direction," Mr. MacNeil said. "The personal alert system has the potential not only to help people, but is a cost-effective investment in our health-care system."
Continuing care services are available to all Nova Scotians who require ongoing care, for short or longer terms. Services range from home care supports and specialized equipment, to beds in nursing homes. These services are provided in a client's home, a residential care facility or a nursing home.
More information about Continuing Care is available at www.gov.ns.ca/health/ccs.
To apply for the program or for more information call 1-800-225-7225, toll-free.