In the last days of her mother’s life coping with Alzheimer’s, Maria Minna took on the role of primary caregiver. She often relied on her family’s own resources when there didn’t appear to be help from government services.
“I don’t think that there is enough even now and that’s why we are proposing more,” Minna said.
In the current federal election campaign, the Beaches-East York Liberal candidate has decided to fight for the rights of seniors, to ensure that they are covered financially.
“This election is about choices,” she said.
Since the start of the campaign, the Conservatives have announced new measures to prevent elder abuse. Minna believes that the Conservative government isn’t doing enough for senior care or financial stability for seniors.
“With all due respect that is too little too late… and that won’t put any food on the table, shelter over their heads and protect them from abuse in any way,” she said.
Susan Eng, vice-president of advocacy for the Canadian Association of Retired Persons, is also disappointed in the way government deals with seniors’ needs. When the Ontario government tabled its 2011 budget on March 29, it included drug coverage. But Eng is generally critical of provincial and federal government assistance for seniors.
“There are still people living with some financial insecurities,” she said.
Candidate Minna views lack of government assistance to seniors as a form of elder abuse.
“It’s also elder abuse by the government … if you don’t give them proper income … and decent medicine and (the ability) to afford their housing, their medication and their food,” Minna said.
Minna said in order to help caregivers, the federal government should provide a six-month compassionate leave under Employment Insurance as well as funding to cover expenses.
“Mr. Harper is using $6 billion in corporate tax cuts, $10 billion on our jails, and $30 on fighter jets. That’s $46 billion that will do absolutely nothing to help the seniors,” she said. “We need to take that money and invest in our families.”