The P.E.I government is increasing the funding and supports available to seniors as part of its Seniors Independence Initiative.
The initiative offers financial support and other services like housekeeping, snow removal, lawn mowing, home maintenance, and transportation for the elderly above the age of 65.
The income thresholds for applicants to the program have no rose to a maximum of $26,500 for individuals and $34,000 for a couple.
The government is making these amendments with the goal of keeping seniors in their homes and communities for as long as possible, according to Brad Trivers, provincial minister of social development and housing.
“More people can access the funding. We’re making it simpler for them to get the funding,” Trivers said in an interview with CBC’s Angela Walker.
“We’re also increasing the scope of the services and really allowing seniors to choose what they need.”
As part of the program, seniors are now eligible for a disability parking pass and Lifeline Medical Alert System, which allows one to call for help, even if they can’t speak.
Family persons are additionally considered eligible service providers even if they do not live in the same home as the elderly.
In the past, the program operated on a rebate basis but now the regional government will pay seniors upfront.
“If you say, ‘Look, I really need help with snow removal or mowing my lawn,’ we say, ‘OK. How much does that cost?’ and then we’ll transfer the money to you from up to the amount you’re eligible for,” Trivers said.
Based on their income, seniors are eligible for up to $1,500 yearly in financial help from the program.
Another major amendment in the program is that seniors no longer need to be assessed to receive financial assistance. Previously, they may have been asked a number of questions regarding how capable they were performing certain tasks before getting a service. Now the process is simpler.
“If you say you need it, you got it,” said Trivers.
Making supports more accessible
There are currently around 800 P.E.I residents accessing the program.
“Many have heard stories about that senior that’s not accessing supports because they find it too hard to access,” said Trivers. “We want to make sure that seniors get the services they need, can access this program in a kind of easy and comprehensive way.
“They’ve typically spent their entire life contributing to society and now it’s our turn to support them in their retirement.”
Seniors in the province can find application forms on the Island’s official website, at any Access P.E.I office, or by calling 211.