Jodi Hughes (00:00):
Well, there are many different programs to help support senior citizens in Alberta, but sometimes the trickiest part can be knowing what is available and how you can access these programs. MP Fortin with Ohana Care Health Services joins us now. Good morning, MP. Thank you so much for being with us.
MP Fortin (00:17):
Good morning, Jodi.
Jodi Hughes (00:18):
It can be a bit of a fine line, can’t it, for seniors knowing that maybe they need some help, but not wanting to ask for it. But MP, accessing these programs certainly doesn’t have to mean that independence is compromised, does it?
MP Fortin (00:31):
No, absolutely not. These financial programs can help seniors thrive in their current home, whether they’re living at home or in a long-term care residence. Depending on what their situation is, there are a lot of programs that can be accessed for additional care and supports.
Jodi Hughes (00:46):
And let’s start with some of them, so tell us about the veterans programs that are available.
MP Fortin (00:52):
The veterans programs, the veterans are normally quite aware that they have those supports such as the Veterans Independence Program that helps them stay at home. It helps with financial means for home adaptation, housekeeping, home care, all of that. And also, those that have their K numbers on their veterans card get covered foot care by foot care nurses for no additional cost, so it’s direct billing for them.
Jodi Hughes (01:19):
And that could be so important. What about Alberta Blue Cross? Who is eligible for that? What kinds of programs does that cover?
MP Fortin (01:27):
Alberta Blue Cross has a lot of different programs that can be accessed. One of the more meaningful ones is nursing care, so with a medical note, and if you’re over the age of 65, you can have up to $200 of nursing services to you. So again, we’re talking about foot care or if you’re having a knee incident, then it could be home care provided by a nurse coming to your home, just to help you thrive again until you’re on the mend of recovery.
Jodi Hughes (01:53):
And it does cover some of those other costs. I mean, if you’re dealing with diabetes, you know that those supplies, everything like that, can add up. If you need emergency care and you have to get to the hospital, with Alberta Blue Cross, it’s not something that you have to worry about paying out of pocket.
MP Fortin (02:06):
Absolutely. And it’s not a premium thing. It’s really just about your health and having that medical note to access those funds.
Jodi Hughes (02:12):
Now we know that a lot of seniors are living on a fixed income. What other options are available for folks who even with Blue Cross are finding themselves still needing additional help?
MP Fortin (02:23):
There is a program called Special Needs Assistance for seniors in Alberta. With that program, you have to have the age threshold and also the income threshold, but then you qualify for so many services, such as housekeeping, grounds. And that is a program that you can access even if you’re in long-term care for of those medical supplies that you may require in order to, again, thrive into your environment and be happy wherever you live.
Jodi Hughes (02:52):
And I think one thing people might not know about this program is it can cover the cost of certain furniture. Let’s say you need a different bed or you need an appliance and you’re finding yourself thinking, “My gosh, that price tag is quite a lot.” This program can be something that can help out a low-income senior get some of those things that they need just for the home comfort.
MP Fortin (03:10):
Absolutely. Even a television, sometimes that’s what brings quality of life, especially in this environment right now. With everyone trying to stay as isolated as possible, a TV can really increase quality of life for our seniors. So, Special Needs Assistance can help with some of those items as well.
Jodi Hughes (03:27):
Now, MP, I’m assuming for all of these programs, you’d want to take a look online, or maybe call and talk to people about how to access them?
MP Fortin (03:35):
Absolutely. There are a lot of websites that can be accessed. I would also encourage people to reach out to different companies because a lot of them will have direct billing with those companies and they know those programs really, really well. Companies such as Ohana Care can be really helpful. Other private sector businesses as well can also help with direct billing, and just directing the senior in the right direction when it comes to accessing those funds.
Jodi Hughes (04:04):
And that’s just it. I think if you don’t know it’s out there, then it’s hard to know where to access it. MP, thank you so much for your time today. If folks would like some more information, as you said, they can head to OhanaCare.ca.
MP Fortin (04:15):