After listening to speeches by local health care officials and politicians at an Aug. 31 press conference announcing $6.1 million in provincial funding through the Aging at Home strategy, 91-year-old Art Pyette walked up to the microphone to share some first-hand experiences with assisted living.
The Aging at Home Strategy is designed to reduce the number of alternate level of care (ALC) patients in the hospital and emergency room visits by seniors through an increase in programs such as home care, assisted living, help with transportation, personal hygiene and meal preparation.
In the late 1990s, Art's wife, Florence, suffered a stroke and was diagnosed with dementia. With help from home care workers, Art was able to care for his wife for five years, despite suffering from arthritis himself.
In June 2004, Florence entered the Finlandia nursing home, and a few months later, Art was accepted into a supportive housing apartment, also in the Finlandia complex.
“The first year (at Finlandia) was very difficult,” he said.
“I was in and out of hospital several times, and cared little whether I lived or died. In the second year, things began to change. My arthritis did not change, but my general health did.
“Florence has been well taken care of in the nursing home, and I was being well looked after, freed from the tasks of cooking and cleaning. Today, at the age of 91, other than arthritis, I am fairly healthy. This I credit to the good care of supportive housing at Finlandia.”
The $6.1 million announcement brings the total investment in the Aging at Home program over three years to $16.8 million.
North East Local Health Integration Network (NE LHIN) CEO Louise Paquette said her organization hasn't yet finalized which organizations will be getting a share of the new funding.
“The LHIN is working very closely with northeast organizations,” she said. “We hope that within the next couple of weeks to be able to tell the public exactly where that funding is going, and to what organizations.”
The funding will be directed to areas such as new long-term care beds, transitional bed capacity, assisted living services, aboriginal discharge planning programs and geriatric services.