Need for care home beds is great

By Matt Wiebe - MLA for Concordia

As published in The Herald

March 15, 2017

When the time comes to consider housing options for an older spouse or family member, finding quality, compassionate care is top of mind.

With our aging population, it’s becoming increasingly difficult to find places that are close to home. The shortage of personal care home beds throughout our entire province cannot be overstated; as our province’s population ages and more of us are living well into our 80s and beyond, the need for more high-quality personal care home spaces in northeast Winnipeg continues to persist.

This is putting pressures on our whole health care system — from emergency rooms to home care services. This is not the time for funding cuts, but rather the time to support great projects that would increase the options available for families.

Take, for example, the Park Manor Personal Care Home, located in East Transcona. Plans have been in the works since 2013 to expand this facility by building a second centre on the property. With the addition set to add over 100 new beds, it would double the current capacity and help meet the demand of our aging seniors.

The private fundraising efforts of the Park Manor Capital Campaign Cabinet raised thousands of dollars for this project. To complement the community’s contribution, I was pleased when, in June 2014, the previous government announced funding to support the planned expansion.

Recently, the provincial government announced a series of funding cuts, pauses, and cancellations that have impacted capital projects across the province. In particular, the grossly inadequate funding proposed for personal care home projects has effectively stopped any new projects from progressing. The Concordia Wellness Centre project is still waiting for the green light from this government, delaying construction of this much-needed facility indefinitely.

Far too many seniors are waiting too long for a personal care home space, and now communities have been forced to cancel projects because the money just isn’t there. This is simply not acceptable. Manitobans rightly expect the government to act swiftly in providing adequate personal care home spaces for our seniors.

If you have any questions or would like to share your ideas for Concordia, feel free to call me at 204-654-1857, or visit my website at www.MattWiebe.ca.