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This article was published 16/4/2016 (1452 days ago), so information in it may no longer be current.
Candidates from Brandon East and Brandon West spoke on issues like dementia, pension plans and housing for seniors at Prairie Oasis Seniors Centre on Friday.
The question-and-answer session saw most MLA candidates chat about what it means to raise the quality of life for seniors. Brandon West candidates Linda Ross of the NDP and Liberal Billy Moore did not attend.
The Brandon Seniors Vote group sent each candidate a list of 10 questions. The Q-and-A included those questions and some anecdotes from each candidate about their own experiences working or living with seniors.
Essentially, the issues for seniors in Brandon dissolve into one main question: People are living longer, so what will candidates do to make that life more comfortable?
Brandon East NDP incumbent Drew Caldwell listed off several projects his government has completed or committed to, including the building of a 60-unit seniors housing complex by 2017, boosting the primary caregiver tax credit and helping to fund the Western Manitoba Cancer Centre.
"At a time when cuts are being proposed right across the province, having a government committed to supporting seniors is important," Caldwell said. "I’m very proud to be actively engaged in this community and take a leadership role in funding and partnering with seniors organizations."
Brandon West Progressive Conservative incumbent Reg Helwer shared multiple stories about his own parents, including his belief that keeping seniors at home longer is beneficial.
"From what I’ve seen, the longer we can stay in our own homes, the less we need access to services," Helwer said of his own parents.
Brandon East Liberal candidate Vanessa Hamilton said falls are a huge cost on the health-care system. Preventing falls would eventually save more money for other investments in seniors.
Helwer agreed, saying the way to avoid that is to keep people in their homes, longer.
"You’ve grown up and lived in this house for a number of years, so you know how far away things are," Helwer said. "So even when you’re getting up off the toilet, you know exactly how far away the counter is. But when you move into assisted living, you don’t know where things are all the time. We try to do things to keep people safer, but staying in your own home is the best solution if you have the support of family and home care."
At one point, all candidates were asked to describe what they foresee senior care to be like in the future.
Brandon East Conservative candidate Len Isleifson noted collaboration between Brandon organizations and their MLA are key to building a healthy future for seniors. But when it comes to specifics, Isleifson said that a prediction might not be what people need right now.
"I think it would be unwise to lay out a 10- to 20-year-plan that involves financial implications when we don’t know where we’re at (financially)," he said. "It’s not about spending money. It’s about investing wisely, common sense and building the future."
Manitobans go to the polls April 19.
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