AUPE issues statement on National Seniors' Day
October 1 is the International Day of Older Persons worldwide and the 10th annual National Seniors' Day in Canada.
This day is usually a time to celebrate the contributions that older people make to our communities and the positive impacts they have on our lives as beloved family members, friends, neighbours and colleagues.
The year 2020 has shone a particularly harsh light on our failure as a society to care for many of the people we’re going to hear politicians celebrate today.
Funding cuts, contracting-out, privatization and inadequate staffing levels have harmed the quality of care many seniors receive. That seniors’ care is increasingly is provided by part-time, casual and temporary workers not only undermines the conditions of those workers, it directly alters the living conditions of those seniors, often to deadly effect, as the Covid-19 pandemic has shown us.
More than 60% of COVID-19 related deaths in Alberta are connected to long-term care homes. More than just a statistic, that number represents real people with names and faces, and the loss of their lives must lead to meaningful change in the way we care for the older people we celebrate today.
By 2035, the population of older adults in Alberta alone is expected to grow to over one million. It is time our governments put their money where their mouths are and adequately fund the care that the most vulnerable among seniors are going to require.
As our community prepares for this significant shift, it is important to look at the gifts and contributions that older adults bring and how we, as a community, can learn and grow by listening, supporting, and learning from the experience of this generation.
National Seniors Day is a time to celebrate the contributions that older adults make to our society. It should also be a time for society - and that means all of us - to commit to doing better in providing care for them so that they can age in comfort and dignity and safety.