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Seniors break for summer after AGM

By June 13, 2024No Comments
The AGM of the Lloydminster Concerned Citizens for Seniors Care Society was the perfect opportunity to recognize the work of one of its founding members, Dr. Raff Sayeed. The AGM was held at the Legacy Centre on Monday. Geoff Lee Meridian Source

 

The  Lloydminster Concerned Citizens for Seniors Care Society is on its summer break with an outstanding list of priorities to tackle when weekly meetings resume in the fall.

Seniors Care Society president, Graham Brown, touched on what lies ahead while celebrating the group’s achievements over the past year at an annual general meeting at the Legacy Centre on Monday.

Brown ranks the need for more long-term care spaces as “job one” when seniors reconvene on Sept. 17.

He noted that’s the way it’s been since 2005 when Dr. Raff Sayeed, Rod Sellers and a few other seniors began meeting each week because of the acute shortage of long-term care spaces in Lloydminster.

“There’s still a shortage and we’re still transferring seniors out of our community; there’s wait lists, which means there isn’t enough,” said Brown.

He told the meeting Alberta Health Services (AHS) and the Saskatchewan Health Authority (SHA) have confirmed the district requires 60 additional beds now and another 148 by 2025.

“We got to keep pushing on that. We’ve been working a lot this past year on the replacement of the Jubilee Home.”

Brown said they have now completed a community of care proposal for Jubilee, which would include social housing, a health services building, long-term care spaces, transition spaces, palliative care spaces, respite space and a hospice.

“The next step is to work with SHA for approval of the project then more detailed planning will begin,” he said.

“Also, we must keep advocating for a new update community plan, for the transfer of medical records across the border, increased funding for Home Care and increased funding for social housing.”

Brown is optimistic for the future, noting they now have a good relationship with AHS and SHA representatives helping to push projects like the replacement of Jubilee Home forward. 

“We’re hearing reports in the media every few days, that there’s been more money put into long-term care and seniors’ health,” he said in his closing remarks.

“So hopefully, we can start moving the needle on getting some of those investments here in this community.”

Brown also reminded the AGM the main objective of the seniors group is to advocate governments to increase long-term care spaces and for individuals trying to navigate the system or are being mistreated.

To that end, he presented a recognition plaque to Sayeed as a founder for generating awareness of the need for long-term spaces and other seniors’ issues over the years.

“The recognition was a surprise. I never expected it,” said Sayeed. “I was just doing what I thought in my heart was the right thing to do to help seniors, because as a physician, I see how seniors are treated in our community and how they have become second-class citizens.

“It was wrong, which is why we started the group and it’s just what I think I should be doing.”

Sayeed says he’s confident many people are now aware there’s a shortage of spaces in Lloydminster thanks to the work of the Seniors Care Society. 

He’s also pleased to see the number of members grow from five or six in the early years to more than 130 in 2024.

One of the accomplishments over the past year he says is securing new lighting in the parking lot of Southridge Estates where there was a lot of vandalism.

“We are in the process of advocating for walk-in showers because many seniors are unable to get out of their tubs safely and some have fallen and injured themselves,” he said.

“Our list goes on. I am proud of what we are doing and we now have a really good cohesive group under the ‘presidentship’ of Graham Brown.”

As for dealing with two provincial governments all the time, Sayeed admits it’s a slow process.

“It’s a frustrating process, but we will succeed in the end,” he said.

Sayeed notes it was good to have Lloydminster MLA Colleen Young in the audience and introduced as Saskatchewan’s new Minister of Advanced Education.

“It’s very important to have your MLAs understand the problems,” he said.

“We’ve made it a point to meet with our MLAs on a regular basis and bring them up to date on problems in and around Lloydminster.”

Sayeed says one thing people in government don’t understand is Lloydminster is not just a city of 31,000 people.

“We are medically serving 75,000 people in the region,” he said with the Lloydminster Hospital in mind. 

The AGM also elected Darrell Dunn, Ron Gillies and Marian Steinkey as new board members and presented a plaque to Meridian Source reporter Geoff Lee for coverage of seniors’ issues.