McNeil government earmarks $13.6M to help N.S. seniors

1 / 2
Province's $13.6M action plan on aging has 'fallen short,' says senior

Better nutrition and transportation improvements are part of a 50-item Liberal action plan designed to help senior Nova Scotians.

Announced Thursday, the $13.6 million plan, called SHIFT, comes just about a year after angry seniors forced the McNeil government to retreat on proposed changes to the province's Pharmacare drug plan.

"This is not a document to sit on the shelf. They are 50 actions that will require all of us to work together," Premier Stephen McNeil told a gathering in Fall River Thursday for the launch of Nova Scotia's Action Plan for an Aging Population."

Among the 50 action items are:

- Leading the way in demonstrating how to be an age-friendly, inclusive and intergenerational workplace that values its older workers.

- Building public awareness about the benefits of being active in the community, and how to get involved.

- Working with partner organizations to promote mentorship opportunities for older adults.

- Providing grants for inter-generational food literacy programs, such as Community gardens and community kitchens. 

- Establishing a ministerial committee to address community transportation in Nova Scotia.

A total of eight government departments are charged with delivering on the 50 actions between now and 2020.

Marjorie Willison, a Nova Scotia author and radio personality who co-chaired the advisory committee on the action plan, was all smiles at the launch of the plan.

"I'm just bursting with pride today, I can't help it."

"Nova Scotia is a province with an aging population. I'm an example. And I see that this is something that we can use to our advantage." 

But Bill Berryman, chair of the Seniors Advisory Council of Nova Scotia, is worried the government has not set aside enough money to meet the stated goals of the plan.

"A lot of these things are going to be very costly," he told CBC News. "Yes, I know the premier has said there's $13.6 million. But I think really it's going to cost a lot more money to implement all 50 recommendations."