N.W.T. government not delivering on senior care promises, says director of seniors' society

The territorial government is failing to follow through on commitments made in 2015 to address senior care in the North, according to the NWT Seniors' Society.

Health minister says there's still plenty of time to deliver on senior care commitments

Barb Hood, executive director of the NWT Seniors' Society, wants to see a new senior strategy in the territory. (Richard Gleeson/CBC)

The territorial government is failing to follow through on a campaign promise to address senior care in the North, according to the NWT Seniors' Society.   

It wants to develop a senior strategy with Glen Abernethy, the minister responsible for seniors.

Barb Hood, executive director of the NWT Seniors' Society, said the overall goal of the strategy is to establish a central office for seniors to go for their health care services.

The seniors society of the Northwest Territories has proposed a strategy that includes establishing a central office for seniors to go for assistnace getting health care.

"This strategy would mean a central place to have everything that would affect them be consistent in the way it's delivered," Hood said.

"Sometimes what older adults experience is a fragmented patchwork of programs."

But some MLAs said it's unlikely the territorial government will offer their full support for the proposed senior strategy.

Frame Lake MLA Kevin O'Reilly says with only two-years left in its mandate, it's unlikely the government will be able to make much happen. (Alex Brockman/CBC)

Kevin O'Reilly, MLA for Frame Lake, spoke to Hood at the Standing Committee for Social Development on Friday.

"What you're hearing is that it's going to be very difficult to try to fit this in, in the last two years of our mandate," said O'Reilly.

"So my advice is take whatever funding you can get out of Glen [Abernethy] and use it to start the work yourselves, cause I think waiting for this government to do it won't happen in the next two years."

Hood said she will seek funding elsewhere if the territorial government fails to act.

"It's particularly frustrating because while it was an issue for certain people during the election, [but] election time is election time, governing is another time," said Hood.

Hood said the next step is waiting to hear Abernethy's response on the proposed strategy.

Still 'a lot of time'

Abernethy told CBC on Monday that strategies such as the Continuing Care Services Action Plan are proof that his department is fulfilling commitments made in 2015.

Glen Abernethy, the minister responsible for seniors, says the government is delivering on commitments made in 2015. (CBC)

The strategy, created during the last sitting of the Legislative Assembly, was developed between the territorial government and the NWT Seniors' Society.

"It's a little sad that people think nothing's going to happen in the next two years," said Abernethy. "We're only halfway through this assembly. There is a lot of time and a lot of work to get done."

The minister said his department is in regular communication with the seniors society.

"If she [Hood] has something she wants to send to me, she knows my door is always open," Abernethy said.


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