Seniors housing will be a topic of discussion for Drumheller's new town council. That pledge from third term councilor Tom Zariski.
Zariski has been the council representative on the Drumheller and District Seniors Foundation for his first two terms and was reappointed last month; and he says it's time Drumheller got some Level Four assisted living units.
"You see the high quality of life that is provided for the Level Two and Level Three (Sunshine and Hillview Lodge), you just don't get that high quality of life at the hospital, even though they do a wonderful job with what they've got," he told 99.5 Drum FM.
In addition, an old wing of Sunshine Lodge sits empty because the tiny rooms don't have bathrooms and no-one wants to live there. Alberta Seniors and Housing Minister Lori Sigurdson visited the lodge in August and agreed it's time for renovation, although she insists it's up to the Seniors Foundation to make the request.
"The latest statistics have over 100 people in Alberta turning 65 every single day," noted Zariski. "That means the seniors population is growing exponentially and we will have to address this problem because it's not going away, it's going to get more and more and more as we go along."
"When you see some of these people who are virtually born and raised in Drumheller - they've been here 80 or 90 years - and all of a sudden their health needs are such that they can't be accomodated in Drumheller and they have to go to Hanna, they have to go to Three Hills away from their family and friends, is just an absolute crime."
The Drumheller Seniors Foundation is looking at converting a part of Hillview Lodge to Level Four care, but Zariski notes it's going to take a lot of money.