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Cost of living goes up

The cost of living in a senior care home in B.C. jumped again as of January 1, 2011, after a similar increase last year, leading to total increases of as much as 29 per cent.

Then health minister Kevin Falcon announced in 2008 the lowest rate, based on income, dropped $1.50 to $29.40 per day, saving the poorest residents $45 per month.

Three quarters of the 26,000 senior’s living in B.C. facilities saw an increase.

People with an annual income of $22,000 are paying $163 more per month and the top rate is up $670 per month to a maximum of $2,932.

The decreased rates were effective as of last February while the increases were split over the two years to reduce the impact.

Under the new structure residents are supposed to pay a maximum of 80 per cent of their income, as long as that leaves a minimum $275 a month.

Falcon said in a press release at the time the change will generate an additional $53.7 million annual income, but said “It will introduce a new equitable rate structure so a client’s income determines what they pay for residential care. It’s fair and it’s the right thing to do.”

More than 90 per cent of residents receive government subsidy toward their room and board and there are hardship provisions for clients who are unable to pay.

Brenda Hadley, whose mother is in a local care facility, said her rate went up $246 to $1,933 per month, which is $225 more than her income.

She said seven years ago her mother’s care cost $28.65 per day and is now up to $64.46 for what she feels is less care.

She pointed out that because the maximum rate is $2,932 per month, someone making $45,000 only pays 78 percent of their income, “again only the rich get a break.”

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