Leader Stephen Mandel says an Alberta Party government would add 3,500 long-term care beds and bring in a program to help older people stay in their homes longer.

Mandel said the pilot project would help seniors with snow shovelling, meal preparation, grocery delivery and lawn maintenance.

The pilot would be available in mid-sized cities such as Grande Prairie and Medicine Hat, he said during an announcement Friday at an Edmonton seniors residence, “and would cost an estimated $1.7 million a year.”

The extra long-term care beds would cost $260 million annually to operate, in addition to an initial cost of $230 million to build.

Mandel also proposedĀ a caregiver tax credit and better management of wait lists to keep couples together in seniors homes.

He said the province is unprepared as more and more families face the realities of aging parents and relatives.

“The hard work of Alberta’s seniors built this province, and they deserve to age with respect and dignity,” Mandel said. “We’re going to help them maintain their independence, support the family members who care for them and plan ahead so that we’re ready for an aging population.”

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