News release

Province Provides Additional Support to Seniors and Caregivers

Seniors are getting more support to remain in their own homes and communities as part of government's plan to provide better health care.

The province announced today, Nov. 26, $1.85 million to expand the Caregiver Benefit and $100,000 in the Personal Alert Assistance Program, making more seniors eligible for help.

Eligible caregivers who receive income assistance will now have their benefits protected while they provide care for friends and family.

"With today's announcement, we are keeping our commitment to help about 600 more seniors stay in their homes and communities longer," said Health Minister Maureen MacDonald.
"By targeting those with serious health needs, whether they have a cognitive impairment such as dementia or a significant physical disability, and low-income Nova Scotians, we are working hard to make life better and more affordable for more seniors and their caregivers."

The Personal Alert Assistance Program will provide up to $480 per year to eligible seniors, 65 years of age or older, to purchase a personal alert assistance service.

Low-income seniors who live alone, receive publicly funded home care services, have a history of recent falls and use a cane, walker or wheelchair are eligible. The Personal Alert Assistance Program is expected to have 200 clients when it begins Jan. 1.

"In March, we made a commitment to expand the Caregiver Allowance Program and we have done this with the expanded Caregiver Benefit. While we know that more needs to be done, we have found a way to help close to 400 more people, those with serious needs, while ensuring government lives within its means," said Ms. MacDonald.

Under an expanded Caregiver Benefit program, the number of eligible caregivers is expected to increase by 400 by redefining the eligibility criteria. The number of people helped through this benefit is more than 1,000 this year. The expanded program begins on Dec. 1.

"This is the right decision to improve support for Nova Scotians who give their compassion and time to care for family and friends in greatest need," said Community Services Minister, Denise Peterson-Rafuse. "This ties in with other changes we’ve made to move the Employment Support and Income Assistance Program from one of last resort to one that better supports people’s efforts to improve life for them and their families."

To be eligible for the Caregiver Benefit of $400 per month, both the person who requires care and the person providing the care must meet certain program criteria.

"This announcement is a positive step forward and Caregivers Nova Scotia supports it. We're happy to see the Caregiver Benefit expanded to more families. Any time there is more support for caregivers in Nova Scotia is good news," said Sharon Reashore, executive director of Caregivers Nova Scotia.

Today's announcement is part of government's plan to make life better for Nova Scotia seniors. The province has taken several measures to make life more affordable for seniors while working to ensure government lives within its means, including:

  • providing personal income tax relief to ensure no Nova Scotia recipient of Guaranteed Income Supplement pays provincial taxes
  • creating the Affordable Living Tax Credit that benefits seniors and other Nova Scotians;
  • ending security deposits for seniors in long-term care facilities;
  • increasing the number of nurse practitioners to augment care in nursing homes;
  • And getting better prices for Nova Scotia seniors and those who rely on Pharmacare programs for coverage of their prescription drugs and for taxpayers

More information about the Caregiver Benefit and the Personal Alert Assistance Program is available at www.gov.ns.ca/health . Anyone wishing to apply for the program or for further information can call the toll-free line at 1-800-225-7225.

FOR BROADCAST USE:

More seniors who need support to live in their homes and remain in their communities longer are getting help from the province.

The province today, (November 26th) announced a new program, the Personal Alert Assistance Program, and expansion of the Caregiver Benefit program, previously called the Caregiver Allowance.

Health Minister Maureen MacDonald says that by targeting those with serious health needs, and low-income Nova Scotians, government is working hard to make life better for seniors and their caregivers, while living within its means.

Through the changes almost 600 more Nova Scotians will get financial support.

The changes to the Caregiver Benefit Program will take effect December 1st and the Personal Alert Assistance Program will begin January 1st.

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Media Contact:

Kristen Rector
Department of Health 902-424-2727 E-mail: