Weir family's financial appeals denied in dementia case
Nova Scotia government taking all of Brian Weir's income for care
Nova Scotia's Community Services Minister Joanne Bernard says the government will not intervene to help an Annapolis Valley family dealing with the financial repercussions of dementia.
At issue is the provincial policy surrounding who pays for care of patients with severe forms of the illness.
As a result of the policy, the Weir family may lose their home.
"It's either pay for his care or pay for the mortgage," said Cathy Weir.
Weir's 68-year-old husband Brian developed severe dementia earlier this year, posing a risk to others and requiring 24-hour care at the Kings Regional Rehabilitation Centre in Waterville.
The provincial Department of Community Services said the annual cost of care for a resident of this nature at the centre is approximately $120,000 to $137,000 per year, which is paid for by the provincial government.
Government legislation allows the province to take 100 per cent of Brian Weir's income, Canada pension and old age security to help pay for his care.
"The process has been followed here, the procedures were looked at, the specifications were all fairly applied," said Bernard.
"We have taken a compassionate approach in this case where we are not requiring retroactive payment."
Weir has run out of appeals. From Nov. 15 onward, she will be billed. She said the policy doesn't consider families like hers, with young children.
The couple have a 13-year-old son, Jeffrey, and Weir feels an exception should be made since her husband's income pays their mortgage and insurance.
"It's rare," said Weir. "Most people don't have a young child at home. If it was just him and I, then I could understand but not with a child at home."
Weir works in retail and said government officials recognize the dilemma. But she said her son needs to be considered.
"If they take it, then the mortgage doesn't get paid and we know how that goes. I lose the house and I just don't know where we go from there," said Weir.
Both Health Minister Leo Glavine and Bernard acknowledged the current policy needs to be reviewed but that's little consolation to Weir, who is expecting a bill any day.