Alberta seniors won’t be left out in the cold despite claims from the NDP, Premier Ed Stelmach vowed yesterday.

Responding to a leaked draft report suggesting that the province drastically scale back long-term care spaces, Stelmach said the focus should be on getting seniors into assisted living spaces as opposed to acute care beds.

“We have to make sure we have proper accommodations in place and that means moving a lot of seniors out of the hospital,” he said.

“Hospitals are not homes, and we want to make seniors as comfortable as possible and allow them to return to the communities that they helped build.”

NDP Leader Brian Mason blasted the Conservative government after unveiling the leaked report on Tuesday, saying seniors who require high levels of care will be dumped into assisted living homes where they won’t receive the support that they need.

The 60-page draft, prepared for the province’s long-term care branch in May, calls for the ratio of long-term care beds to be reduced to 20 per cent of total care space in Alberta, down from the current level of 40 per cent.

Meanwhile, assisted living spaces would be augmented to 60 per cent while supportive living would make up the remaining 20 per cent.

But Stelmach said the “NDP’s mathematics are totally flawed,” and the quality of life for seniors will be better in assisted living environments rather than long-term care facilities.

He noted the province has been working with seniors groups to find the right balance and to ensure they are not on the hook for higher costs for care.

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