MONCTON (GNB) – The provincial government has announced, following a commitment from seniors groups to work together to develop a sustainable aging strategy, find efficiencies and improve the quality of care in New Brunswick, that it will not be moving forward with the proposed changes to the nursing home policy announced in the 2015-16 budget. This includes the consideration of assets and the rise in the daily cost for nursing home care.

The announcement was made today by Premier Brian Gallant and Social Development Minister Cathy Rogers. The two met recently with a number of seniors groups.

Rogers said that the government will also be creating a council on aging and has committed to work with seniors to create an aging strategy.

“We had a productive meeting with seniors groups last Friday and I appreciated the opportunity to explain the challenges we are facing as a province as well as to listen to their ideas and concerns,” said Rogers. “We also shared our vision for seniors care which is much broader than just nursing homes. The council we are creating will allow them to be a partner in designing a strategy that will help us provide the best sustainable care for seniors and keep them in their own homes longer.”

The terms of reference for the council on aging will be developed with seniors groups. Those interested in being part of the council will be asked to put their names forward in the coming weeks.

“In our first budget, we proposed changes to the nursing home policy as one of many initiatives designed to help us address a daunting demographic challenge posed by our aging population,” said Rogers. “While the policy was designed to make care more affordable for the majority of seniors, it is clear that the announcement of our intent to change the policy caused a significant amount of concern for seniors. This was not our intention nor was it consistent with our priority of helping seniors and their families.”

Gallant said that the government remains committed to addressing the issue of healthy aging and care for seniors.

“Taking this policy off the table does not mean that our challenges go away,” said Gallant. “The seniors groups have demonstrated a commitment to work with us to develop progressive policies and to find efficiencies so that we can improve the quality of life for our seniors while addressing our financial challenges as a province. By working together, we will overcome these challenges.”