PEI finally recognizes that 8,980 seniors have disabilities

The PEI Seniors’ Secretariat officially recognized there are 8,980 seniors on Prince Edward Island living with disabilities which they have been denying for the past four years.
By: PEI Disability Alert
Sept. 13, 2010 - PRLog -- The PEI Seniors’ Secretariat has finally officially recognized that there are 8,980 seniors on Prince Edward Island living with disabilities. Prior to a letter from the Department of Community Services Seniors and Labour, the PEI Government had not acknowledged that seniors with disabilities existed.

PEI Disability Alert received a letter from Anna Duffy, Chairperson of the PEI Seniors’ Secretariat regarding our nomination of the 8,980 residents of PEI who are 65 years of age and older with disabilities. The Seniors Secretariat is part of the PEI Department of Community Services Seniors and Labour.

“On behalf of the PEI Seniors’ Secretariat,” Anna Duffy wrote, “I wish to recognize your recent nomination of 8,980 Island Seniors with Disabilities for the 2010 PEI Senior Islanders of the Year Award.”

“That’s quite encouraging,” said Stephen Pate, Director or PEI Disability Alert.” We have been advocating for seniors with disabilities for more than four years. This is the first time the government has acknowledged their existence.”

Statistics Canada reported there were 8,980 seniors living on PEI have a material disability that impacts their every day living. The data is found in their survey called Participation and Activity Limitation Survey PALS 2006 at table 2.3.1.

“I am pleased Ms. Duffy has come to realize that Seniors might have disabilities,” added Pate. “At the first meeting in January 2008 of the PEI Disability Services Review Committee, Duffy told the committee she didn’t believe seniors had disabilities.”

“Seniors are not disabled,” she told us. “They are only impaired."

“I think the number of seniors with impairments is exaggerated,” Duffy went on to state said Pate. “I never see any of them at the Annual Meetings, coming up to the sandwich table.”

None of the official documents of the Department of Community Services, Seniors and Labour website contain the number of seniors with disabilities. There is currently no program that addresses the needs of seniors with disabilities on PEI.

“The facts are obvious,” said Pate. “The stores, nursing homes and our homes are populated with seniors using walkers, wheelchairs and hearing aids among other things. Those seniors are living with disabilities. It’s often hard to get “official” circles to admit the obvious.”

“The next step would be for the Government and the Seniors’ Secretariat to admit that those seniors with disabilities should be provided wheelchairs and other assistive devices like people younger than 65 are given. The PEI Disability Support Program, that buys wheelchairs, excludes seniors from coverage,” added Pate.

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