The well-being of seniors in our community was one of the topics brought forward during the 2021 Alberta Urban Municipalities Association (AUMA) convention, and trade show this month. A delegation from the Town of Strathmore attended the convention and brought forward two resolutions. One was related to the eldercare model, and another related to long-term care services.

Strathmore Mayor Pat Fule attended the convention and said the convention itself was safe and followed COVID-19 protocols.

“It was really interesting because I went to a couple of sessions that should help us quite a bit as far as having a good term as a Council,” he said. Fule explained that some topics ranged from good governance to the responsibilities and code of conduct for councillors. He also attended a workshop related to municipal government.

He noted that the tradeshow portion of the convention was a good opportunity for the delegation to network and make contacts in terms of companies and services related to municipalities.

In terms of elder care, Strathmore’s resolution asked for the province to create enhanced choices for their eldercare model.

And on the topic of long-term care, the town’s resolution called for AUMA to lobby the Federal Government to make long-term care and home care “medically necessary” services under the terms of the Canada Health Act.

This year over 1100 delegates from across Alberta attended the convention and trade show in Edmonton. Guest speakers included Premier Jason Kenney and leader of the Official Opposition Rachel Notley.

In terms of Strathmore’s resolutions Fule said the first one was to address some gaps in seniors care that were uncovered in the province during the pandemic.

“We felt that since one in eight people in Alberta is 65 or older and that population is going to continue to grow into the middle of the century, and since there were some gaps and problems when you look back on COVID and how things went in seniors lodges, there were some gaps that may have come about in some areas,” said Fule.

He explained that was not the case in Strathmore itself.

“I felt our administration there and our staff there did an outstanding job. They were one of the very first to lock down in Alberta and they took such good care of our seniors,” he said.

“I think in general there was some worry that a lot of times the seniors' homes were hotspots for COVID and obviously we lost a lot of Alberta residents that way as well,” said Fule.

He explained that the resolution would be to begin a discourse and lobby the Provincial Government under the Minister of Seniors and Housing to designate an advocate for seniors.

Fule says, “The second one was just to lobby the Federal Government to ensure that age care is taken as a very serious issue right across Canada and to ensure that good standards are being met as far as the care of seniors in different lodges and care settings.”

Another emergent item of discussion was the state of EMS services in the province.

When asked about the topic, Mayor Fule said, “I think everyone is in agreement that there are real problems in the way that the EMS and the way the ambulances are being used,” he said.

“So many of the towns and cities were very very upset about how things are going,” he said.

Fule says the issue must be dealt with right away.

“We were promised that villages, towns, and cities would not see any degradation of emergency services, but that has not been the case. There have been situations where time is much longer to get to people, and time is critical when someone is hurt, or ill,” he said.

The AUMA resolution states that AUMA will advocate for the Government of Alberta to immediately consult with municipalities, to develop a plan to make urgently needed improvements to the delivery and performance of the ambulance system where municipalities 61 are recognized and compensated for the role they play in support of the provincial health care system.