Rising grocery costs and inflation have dominated headlines and conversations recently, as many Albertans have been struggling to match sudden price increases. This has made life much harder for disabled Albertans, who suddenly find themselves having to make sacrifices just to keep up.
Supportive Roommate Nichola-Hamilton Judson cares for several disabled Albertans, and explains some people she cares for have specific food needs, and since that's something that can't be worked around it instead forces sacrifices in other aspects of their lives.
"One of our clients has texture issues, so the specific foods that he's able to eat without having him be sick or sensitive or have a behaviour outburst has increased in cost. But then we have a behaviour outburst because he doesn't understand why he can't afford to go swimming now that he's had that vanilla yogurt, and because they don't have the brain capacity to understand why that routine has now been broken, it becomes a bigger problem," she explained.
These challenges largely come from the fact that disabled Albertans are on a fixed income through AISH (Assured Income for the Severely Handicapped). While prices continue to increase, AISH remains the same. Hamilton-Judson did point out that the Alberta Government has made an effort to help with this by re-indexing AISH and providing $100 a month as part of their inflation relief act, but this ultimately can't keep up with the current situation. Outside of groceries, just about every field has seen a price increase as well. AISH payments can differ on an individual basis, with the basic living allowance being $1787 a month. This is meant to cover all costs of living, including but not limited to groceries, rent, and activities.
Because of the current struggles and sacrifices some disabled Albertans are already making, Hamilton-Judson added in some cases she, along with other supportive roommates, have had to pay out of their own pocket.
"Trying to explain it to our individuals is sometimes near impossible and sometimes as a supportive roommate it's easier to suck up that cost just to keep their day normal even though we're not getting reimbursed for that because it's their quality of life that we're working for."
With no immediate end to inflation and rising costs in sight, it's possible these problems will continue to persist, barring more relief payments or possible government action to lower the cost of living in other areas.