New funding for seniors
The Manitoba government is investing three million dollars in two housing programs that will allow more Manitoba seniors to safely age in their homes and communities if they choose.
Many Manitoba seniors try to keep their independence and prefer to stay in their own homes despite the various challenges often associated with ageing. They favour this set up instead of moving to a senior’s home that – for their safety – may provide more appropriate housing that suits their declining mobility, weakening physical capacity, and emerging geriatric health issues.
The Manitoba government is investing three million dollars in two housing programs that will allow more Manitoba seniors to safely age in their homes and communities as long as they choose, Seniors and Long-term Care Minister Scott Johnston and Families Minister Rochelle Squires announced on April 13, 2023.
The first $1.5 million in funding will help provide seniors with financial assistance for home modifications that include adaptations designed to increase safety, accessibility, and participation in daily activities such as ramps, curbless showers, and increased lighting for better visibility, which are common solutions that can keep people living in at home as they age.
To be eligible for funding, seniors must be over the age of 65 with a household income of $60,000 or less. Families with senior members living in their household may also qualify for home modifications under the same criteria.
“It is a priority for the Manitoba government to enhance the affordability of, and accessibility to adequate housing for Manitobans, particularly to those persons of low-to-moderate incomes or with specialized needs,” said Squires. “This new and innovative program will provide an affordable housing option to support seniors to remain in the community longer, which is important to the health and well-being of Manitoba seniors.”
“Unfortunately, many older adults and older adults with disabilities do not have the means to make home modifications and may be forced to move if they experience a change in health status or can’t be discharged home from hospital because of barriers in the home,” said Marnie Courage, occupational therapist and CEO, Enabling Access Inc. “This new home modification program is a welcomed support that will reduce fall-related hospitalizations, premature admissions to long-term care facilities and enable Manitobans to safely live in place as they age.
A further $1.5-million investment will stabilize and strengthen the Manitoba government’s supportive housing program, which has over 750 units including 528 in Winnipeg and 236 in rural areas.
It aims to provide residents living in community-based facilities with access to additional support including meals, laundry, and light housekeeping services.
In this provincial investment, qualifying seniors will receive a 19 per cent increase in their current per diem rate.
“This increase in the per diem rate for supportive housing is a step in the right direction and welcomed by operators,” said Julie Turenne-Maynard, executive director of the Manitoba Association of Residential and Community Care Homes for the Elderly. “We hope the Manitoba government will continue to invest in this program as evidence has proven that supportive housing is used and needed by seniors who need additional support.”