Alberta Budget 2020: Seniors benefits to be reduced

On March 1st 2020, the Alberta government announced the reduced funding for many Alberta seniors benefits programs including the Special Needs Assistance for Seniors (SNAS).

Drug benefits for seniors are being cut by $72 million this year, the 2020 budget revealed.

The provincial government is introducing income-tested deductibles this year for beneficiaries with higher incomes, but the document doesn’t outline specifics on the changes. Estimates in the UCP government’s general revenue fund show a reduction from $589.6 million in 2019-2020 to $517.4 million in 2020-2021 in spending for the program.

The minister’s spokesperson Tara Jago said in an email statement the drug plan for seniors is the province’s most expensive, and cuts will ensure the program is sustainable.

“Removing non-seniors from the drug plan, using lower cost but equally effective drugs, and introducing an income-tested deductible for high-income beneficiaries – are necessary steps,” she said. “Requiring seniors with higher incomes to pay a deductible brings Alberta in line with other provinces. Low-income seniors will continue to pay nothing.”

Opposition Leader Rachel Notley said seniors got a “raw deal” in this budget and the cuts amount to losing universal drug coverage for seniors.

“What we’re going to see is massive costs downloaded onto seniors or, in some cases, many seniors who simply can’t afford to take the drugs that their doctors prescribe that allow them to maintain a good quality of life … that allows them to stay out of hospitals,” she said at the legislature Thursday. “It is penny wise, pound foolish and cruel.”

The Special Needs Assistance for Seniors program, which helps low-income seniors buy items like foot orthotics and lift chairs, is also being cut, to “focus on the most essential supports,” according to the budget. The government expects to save $8.2 million between 2020-2021 and $8.7 million in the next year through these cuts.

Lori Sigurdson, NDP critic for seniors and housing, said the funding cuts will create hardships for seniors.

“It’s so clear that this UCP government doesn’t care about seniors but they’re making elite corporations the priority,” she said. “They live on fixed incomes sometimes, so they’re going to have to reach in their pockets more for the things they need.”

As a result of the budget cuts, lift chairs are no longer funded for Alberta seniors but it appears mattresses and personal emergency response devices are still covered.

Introduction to Lift Chairs

What is a Lift Chair?

While you may not know exactly what a Lift Chair is or who benefits from one, the chances are you have seen one before. That’s because a Lift Chair looks no different from a standard reclining chair – it just has additional features! This article is designed to provide you with an overview of what a Lift Chair is, what it’s used for, and when it is beneficial – or even necessary – to use one.

What is a Lift Chair?

Lift Chair is a piece of medical equipment that looks similar to a standard reclining chair. It can be used in an upright position, or reclined with just the push of a button. The difference is that the Lift Chair contains a powerful lifting system which can be triggered to tilt the base and back of the chair forward, assisting the user in returning to a standing position. The user operates a Lift Chair by pushing buttons on a remote rather than manually engaging a lever or switch.

There are a number of different names used to describe Lift Chairs. You may see them marketed as “Power Lift Recliners”, “3-Position Recliners”, or “Infinite Position Recliners”, but each of these terms refers to the same type of device.

Lift Chairs are available in a variety of sizes and styles, with numerous optional features. Available in small to large widths, petite to tall heights, cloth, vinyl, or even leather upholstery, and with options including number of positions available, heat, and massage, Lift Chairs can be customized to suit your specific needs.

Who Benefits from a Lift Chair?

Lift Chairs are ideal solutions for anybody who has difficulty transitioning from a seated position to standing due to limited mobility or balance issues. However, the benefits extend far beyond assistance simply sitting down and standing up.

With optional heat and massage features, Lift Chairs provide therapeutic benefits to those with stiff and sore joints, back pain, arthritis, and a variety of other conditions. They provide excellent, affordable alternatives to expensive bathtub modifications for those who require heat and massage therapy.

Lift Chairs can be used for more than just reclining while watching your favorite television programs. Whether you like to use a computer or telephone, read
books or magazines, or engage in a number of other recreational activities, the variety of positions available from your lift chair can comfortably accommodate. Many individuals even opt to sleep in their Lift Chairs rather than in their beds because of the variety of positions available. Most models can be reclined to a flat position, but can also be modified to different angles and elevations for maximum comfort.  For individuals who must keep their legs elevated while they sit or sleep, Lift Chairs are an ideal solution.

Where can you get a Lift Chair?

There are many places to purchase a lift chair, but we recommend working with a professional to determine the best type. With the wide range features and designs, the options can become overwhelming and you may end up with a Lift Chair that does not suit your needs adequately. An expert can work with you to determine more than just the right color to suit your decor – he or she will ask questions such as:

  • Do you frequently eat or drink in the chair? If so, vinyl or leather upholstery may be ideal as it will be easier to clean
  • Will you be sleeping in your chair? If so, comfort is extremely important – some companies even offer mattresses compatible with lift chairs to maximize your comfort level through the night
  • Will you be spending extended periods of time in your Lift Chair, or will it be used only for relaxation and watching television? For limited-use, a two-position Lift Chair may be adequate. For long periods of use, a 3-position or infinite-position Lift Chair may be preferable to ensure comfort over long periods of time
  • What is your weight? Lift Chairs are designed to handle a wide range of weight thresholds, so finding one that will support your needs is imperative to ensure your safety while using the device

Contact Golden Comfort Supplies today to find out more about our Lift Chairs!