FREDERICTON (GNB) – The provincial government is increasing per diems to memory care homes.

“We recognize the important service and support the operators of memory care homes provide to New Brunswickers,’’ said Seniors and Long Term Care Minister Lisa Harris. “We also appreciate the workers who go above and beyond every day to help residents have the best aging experience possible.”

In support of the creation of more memory care beds, and to assist existing care homes, the government is investing $2.1 million.

The first of three per diem increases will raise rates to $135 from $127.42 per resident. The increase will be retroactive to April 1 and will allow operators to increase salaries for workers by $1 an hour.

The second and third increases will take place on April 1, 2019, and April 1, 2020, at which time per diems will be increased to $142.50 and $150, respectively.

“We thank the Province of New Brunswick for formally recognizing the need to invest in personal support workers and validating their considerable contribution to the lives of those on their dementia journey,” said Monique Corbett, director of care at Paradise Villa, in Fredericton. “The increased funding will assist us all to continue with our person-centered goals.”

Under the 2018-2023 Nursing Home Plan, which will be carried out in three phases, the provincial government will invest $108 million over the next five years for renovations to nursing homes around the province.

The plan also involves building ten 60-bed nursing homes around the province.

An additional 407 beds for people living with Alzheimer’s disease and other forms of dementia will be provided in special care homes.

The provincial budget contained a number of investments and strategies to benefit seniors and their caregivers, such as:

  • $12 million to increase wages for human service workers.
  • $1.25 million for a pilot project to help free up acute-care beds.
  • $2.1 million for a wage supplement program focused on seniors, to encourage companies to hire seniors.
  • $800,000 to begin implementing the New Brunswick Aging Strategy.
  • $11.3 million for a program to support informal caregivers.
  • $2.1 million in additional funding for specialized beds for people with advanced dementia.

These initiatives are in addition to other programs for seniors, such as the Home First strategy, the Seniors Health, Well-Being and Home Safety Review, wellness clinics and the Age-Friendly Communities Recognition Program, as well as other investments in senior care, such as affordable housing and home care.

Fostering healthy aging and support for seniors is one of the seven priority areas outlined in the New Brunswick Family Plan framework, which also focuses government action on: improving access to primary and acute care; promoting wellness; supporting people with addictions and mental health challenges; advancing women’s equality; reducing poverty and providing support for people living with a disability.