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We have reached “a certain limit” in health spending, according to Minister Bélanger

Photo: Karoline Boucher The Canadian Press “Home support is a cornerstone of healthy aging at home, which all Quebecers want,” Minister Sonia Bélanger declared on Friday.

Katrine Desautels – The Canadian Press

Posted at 4:15 p.m.

  • Quebec

The Legault government presented its plan Friday morning to address the aging population. It includes several key measures, but home support seems to be the foundation for ensuring a quality of life for seniors.

The Commissioner of Health and Well-being, Joanne Castonguay, participated in a panel on home support alongside, among others, the Minister responsible for Seniors and Minister Responsible for Health, Sonia Bélanger. According to Ms. Castonguay, the solution is not necessarily to invest more, but to better think about how the funding is spent.

“We have a responsibility to that all of our long-term services, but all of the health services, we ensure that the funding becomes sustainable. And that means, faced with all the challenges our society faces, that we cannot continue to increase the dollars we allocate to health, we must use the funds better. declared the Commissioner of Health and Well-being.

Minister Bélanger agreed with her. “You are absolutely right, it is not just by putting money in that we will achieve our results. We see it, we reach a certain limit, and therefore we must revise the model in depth and that is what we are going to do,” she said.

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In her welcoming address, the minister highlighted the importance of home support. “The national policy will put in place the important elements to ensure that home support and maintaining people's autonomy are something that is highlighted in Quebec and that it is significantly improved,” said Ms. Bélanger.

Adapting health care

The Minister of Health, Christian Dubé, recognized that healthcare environments must adapt to the aging population and that clinical care is not always adapted. He touted his concept of mini-hospitals, which should resemble specialized geriatric clinics, to partially meet this need.

Mr. Dubé took the opportunity to send a message to the doctors’ federations. “In our major negotiations […] with medical federations such as the FMOQ and the FMSQ, are we capable of having the courage to rethink some of our fees, our pricing to better take into account the aging population ? he asked. Could we ensure that different pricing for going to the home could be better adapted to promote home care ? »

« We are entering into negotiations with our federations and I think it is the right time to make these changes,” declared Mr. Dubé.

Minister Bélanger stressed that It is important to support seniors with a view to maintaining their autonomy. “I will continue to invest my energies so that we continue on this path in order to see our success next year,” she said.

“Home support is a cornerstone of healthy aging at home, which is what all Quebecers want,” she continued.

She also announced that $15 million will be dedicated to the Financial Exemption Program for Domestic Help Services (PEFSAD), more specifically in social economy businesses.

She also indicated that 20 social geriatrics projects will be funded to the tune of 6 million over three years, including six projects which are being renewed and 14 new projects which will be distributed in 10 regions of Quebec. “We start with that for year “one”, we will continue for subsequent years,” announced Ms. Bélanger.

Meilleure planning for seniors

According to Minister Bélanger, “we know the solutions so that active aging can shine” in Quebec. She spoke about fighting ageism, ensuring that seniors can find affordable housing and promoting a return to work without financial penalty for those who wish to do so.

< p>The government plan also mentions increasing accessibility to information and digital tools. Moreover, the Minister of Employment, Kateri Champagne Jourdain, announced that the 2024 edition of the Guide to Programs and Services for Seniors was now available online. This guide provides information to seniors, particularly on returning to work, but also on tax credits, transportation and home help.

Several panelists , including Dr. Horacio Arruda, assistant deputy minister for prevention, promotion, planning and protection in public health, and the national director of public health, Dr. Luc Boileau, also highlighted the importance of preventive medicine and to give seniors the means to stay active.

During the presentation of the plan, the Minister of Municipal Affairs, Andrée Laforest, recalled that her ministry required the MRCs to have a development policy and government orientations linked to seniors.

She mentioned the difficult context of the pandemic for the elderly and affirmed that it requires better planning for them. She said that, if we were one day faced with another pandemic, “our seniors will have homes built differently, good sidewalks, natural parks in municipalities”, recalling that municipalities have the obligation to determine suitable parks to seniors.

Labrie critic, FADOQ mixed

Led by Minister Bélanger, the 2024-2029 government action plan “The Pride of Aging” is the result of a consultation of 34 ministries and organizations. All the measures in the action plan are accompanied by indicators making it possible to monitor their application.

In a press release, the solidarity spokesperson and responsible for the file of seniors, Christine Labrie, noted gaps in the action plan.

For the MP, Minister Bélanger identified the right areas of intervention, but she is concerned about the lack of information on the means that will be made available to all the ministers involved. “How much have we planned to ensure the mobility of seniors, while public transportation is in danger throughout Quebec, particularly outside major centers ? How much will we make available to municipalities to adapt our public spaces ? »

Ms. Labrie asserts that the numerical measures are insufficient. “The plan aims to offer 40 million hours of home services in 2029, while the need is already 183 million hours. The government plans to build 4,000 affordable housing units adapted to the needs of seniors, while more than that is needed just in Montreal,” she said.

The FADOQ network mentioned that the government's plan included “many interesting and laudable objectives.” However, he remains on guard before applauding the initiative since he knows little about the amounts invested and how the measures will be deployed.

“We obviously welcome this intention as it is a priority for our organization. However, we do not know what it will contain and when it will be deployed,” responded Gisèle Tassé-Goodman, president of the FADOQ network, in a press release.

She recalls that the government must better diversify living environments for seniors, in particular more cooperatives and housing non-profits so that the less fortunate also have access to environments that meet their needs.< /p>

The Canadian Press's health content receives funding through a partnership with the Canadian Medical Association. The Canadian Press is solely responsible for editorial choices.

Teilor Stone

By Teilor Stone

Teilor Stone has been a reporter on the news desk since 2013. Before that she wrote about young adolescence and family dynamics for Styles and was the legal affairs correspondent for the Metro desk. Before joining Thesaxon , Teilor Stone worked as a staff writer at the Village Voice and a freelancer for Newsday, The Wall Street Journal, GQ and Mirabella. To get in touch, contact me through my teilor@nizhtimes.com 1-800-268-7116