FREDERICTON (GNB) – The provincial government has reached agreements with 50 home-support agencies to deliver services to more than 5,200 seniors and adults with disabilities.

“Thousands of New Brunswickers are able to remain independent longer, thanks to home support services, which are available in all regions,” said Seniors and Long-Term Care Minister Lisa Harris. “Staff at the Department of Social Development are working with our clients to ensure there is no disruption of service to seniors or adults as the new contracts are implemented.”

The government spends $135 million annually on in-home support, including home-support services.

“The New Brunswick Council on Aging’s recently-released strategy highlighted the importance of having access to high-quality care and qualified caregivers,” Harris said. “We want to ensure consistent quality and enhanced training as we strive for a more person-centred care approach.’’

Leonard LeBlanc, president of the New Brunswick Seniors Federation, said that home care is extremely important and that the federation supports the province’s efforts to help more seniors through initiatives such as Home First.

“It is the way to go,” LeBlanc said. “We need to keep seniors in their homes for as long as possible where they want to be. It also frees up hospital and nursing home beds.”

He said the province has an opportunity to become a leader in home care.

Providing support for seniors and for people living with a disability are two of the pillars in the New Brunswick Family Plan Framework. The recently-launched New Brunswick Family Plan Framework is intended to complement the Economic Growth Plan and 10-year education plans and aims to ensure that families are supported, resulting in a healthier province.