(YELLOWKNIFE) Thursday, June 11, 2020 – A motion has been passed in the Legislative Assembly that directs the Government of the Northwest Territories to create a Seniors’ and Elders’ Strategy. This Strategy will provide a whole of government approach to enhance all programs and services meant to benefit the seniors and elders of the Northwest Territories.
The 19th Assembly agreed in its mandate to enable elders to age in place with dignity. In honour of this established priority, the Members have directed the Government to develop the Seniors’ and Elders’ Strategy. The Government has 120 days to respond to this motion.
The purpose of this strategy is to fill gaps in current programs and services such as accessing financial assistance for home maintenance and providing suitable housing. The last time a formal document was compiled outlining plans to assist NWT elders was in 2014 by the Department of Health and Social Services—Our Elders: Our Communities.
The debate and passing of this motion coincides with the approaching World Elder Abuse Awareness Day, which takes place on June 15th. The theme for the 2020 edition of this Day is “Uproot Elder Abuse, Plant a Seed for Change.”
“The population of elders in the Northwest Territories continues to grow faster than any other demographic, and 40% of the Territory’s elders have income of less than $25,000 per year. This is not a recipe for success. I look forward to a comprehensive and co-ordinated approach from the government to taking care of our elders,” says Julie Green.
“In Dene culture, our elders are our everything. This strategy is the first step towards making a statement in this Territory that we prioritize our elders,” says Frieda Martselos.