Long-Term Care Beds and Dental Care for Low-Income Seniors Good First Steps, But Ontario Budget Misses Mark on Preventive Health

TORONTO, April 11, 2019 (GLOBE NEWSWIRE) -- The Ontario government’s budget commitment to fund dental care for low-income seniors, accelerate the introduction of new long-term care beds and eliminate the estate administration tax are good first steps but the budget was silent on adult vaccines.  

CARP, Canada’s largest advocacy organization for older adults, released its FACES of Canada’s Seniors policy platform in 2018. In it, CARP called for affordable and accessible dental care for all seniors, including hygiene and restorative work. “The Ontario government’s budget commitment to provide dental care to low-income seniors is a good first start, but it must include restorative work. Oral health is critical to keeping seniors healthy and out of hospital.  We look forward to learning more about the details of this program,” said Laura Tamblyn Watts, Chief Public Policy Officer, CARP.

A 2018 survey of CARP members in Ontario revealed that 55 percent of respondents lost their dental benefits after they retired. “Over 50 percent of our members in Ontario surveyed also said they neglect or delay dental care because they just can’t afford it,” explained Tamblyn Watts. “As our population continues to live longer, we need to a better solution to keeping people healthy. And that includes access to affordable hygiene and restorative dental care for everyone.”

CARP is also pleased to see the government’s commitment to accelerating the creation of 15,000 new long term care beds over the next five years. CARP will continue to fight tirelessly for more funding for long-term and home care for older Ontarians.

CARP was disappointed to see no commitment to fund the newest, most effective adult vaccines. “Investment in adult vaccines is the most cost effective and immediate investment this government can make to support seniors health. We will continue to fight for full funding for the most effective vaccines for shingles and pneumococcal, as well as broader distribution of the high dose flu shot, for all seniors, free of charge,” said Ms. Tamblyn Watts.

The proposed elimination of the estate administration tax for estates of $50,000 or less will simplify the administration of estates. This reduces the impetus for family members to compel an older person into joint ownership of assets, which can lead to financial elder abuse.

The FACES of Canada’s Seniors calls on governments at all levels to commit to specific, measurable improvements in five key areas that matter most to our members.  The five areas for action are: Financial Security, Abuse Prevention, Caregiving and Housing Supports, Exceptional Healthcare and Social Inclusion
For more information: www.CARP.ca/faces

Media contact:

Laura Tamblyn Watts, Chief Public Policy Officer, CARP
(647) 969-6793  ltw@carp.ca

Lisa Hartford, CARP National Communications Lead
(647) 466-8053  lisa@carp.ca