Baker Lake MLA Craig Simailak urged his colleagues in the House to review new initiatives in the NWT and Yukon that allow Elders to live independently for longer.
He said at least one of the senior living centres provides meal service, housekeeping and recreational activities. The units feature wider doorways, level entrances and bathrooms on the main floor.
“I encourage our government to look at these models for planning housing infrastructure in our communities,” said Simailak. “Many of our Elders are not ready for continued care and simply need a little extra support to continue living with dignity in their home communities, near their families and friends. It would be wonderful if Nunavut could match what our Northern counterparts are doing to ensure that more senior living complexes are constructed in our communities. We just need some collaboration and creativity to make this work.”
He received a round of applause.
Housing Minister Margaret Nakashuk told the assembly that 18 of Nunavut’s 25 communities have a combined 178 customized Elders’ units or they support aging in place. In addition, Elders facilities exist in Iqaluit and Arviat.
Simailak inquired about providing services to allow Elders to maintain independence, such as snow clearing, home care visits, ramps and modified bathrooms.
“It seems we could do more. Will the minister commit to working with her colleagues in health and family services to develop options to build Elder housing complexes in Nunavut communities using the models being implemented by our Northern neighbours?” he asked.
Nakashuk replied, “If the Elder homes need to be fixed up, home-care workers notify health care staff to see what other help they need. This is always continuing today. We want to make sure that they have a comfortable place to live.”