Go back to the drawing board on PDD, Mr. Oberle

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Dear Mr. Oberle:

It is with deep remorse I am writing this letter regarding the Alberta government funding cuts for persons with developmental disabilities (PDD) to take effect on July 1, 2013. My husband and I have lived in St. Albert for 34 years and we are fortunate enough to have raised two healthy adult daughters. I worked for over 30 years in the healthcare field and I have a strong belief in our publicly funded universal health-care system, which is quite renowned around the world.

These funding cuts you propose effective July 1 suggest very short-term visioning. The coffers will look better for a few years, but in the meantime these PDD that are presently receiving this funding will suffer. They will not acquire the work experience, which helps them to learn day-to-day life skills, improves their social and emotional skills, and increases their self-esteem. Working provides them with an opportunity to give something to the community. The community likewise will be giving and receiving benefits from these young adults.

When PDD attend agencies such as Lo-Se-Ca, the time away from caregivers gives their parents or other caregivers a much-needed break, even for a few hours per weekday. Without this break from the stresses involved in looking after someone with disabilities, I would imagine there will soon be a sense of overwhelming frustration and burnout. This in turn could lead to more of the caregivers not being able to continue in this role. If these children and young adults are not able to stay in their homes, this could then lead to more PDD being institutionalized, ending up on the streets, possibly with addictions, decreased mobility, falls, pressure sores, etc. In the long run we will not have saved anything and the results could present as an ugly mess in our health care system.

Those of us who are fortunate enough to live in Alberta and in Canada need to remember the less fortunate and do all we can to assist them to become the best citizens of Alberta that they can be. We need to prevent them from falling between the cracks in our health-care system. This health-care system is sustainable. It needs further dissection internally and up in the top government administrative layers. The huge severance and pension packages need to stop. We should not be cutting the staff that work directly with the individuals with PDD in organizations such as Lo-Se-Ca, Transitions and the Skills Society.

Go back to the drawing board, with your committee, Mr. Oberle, and start thinking outside of the box. We need to be an inclusive society and imagine how we can be a great province, not one that cuts services to those with a quieter voice. We have to pay attention and fund for sustainability, not just for today, but for the future!

Rosalynn Thompson, St. Albert

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