I’m 66 and my husband is 61; we live in Saskatchewan and have been retired for five years. A few years ago, my husband developed severe health issues and is now housebound. He has a small pension and Canada Pension Plan benefits, and I receive Old Age Security (OAS), so right now our retirement income covers the necessities, but if he needs to go into a care home and his pension becomes depleted, will I be responsible for the cost of the care home? I don’t want to seem selfish or uncaring, but I have to be practical and prepare for both our futures. As much as I love him and want to take care of him, I also have to think of my needs when I get older.
In Saskatchewan, the standard resident charge (as of mid-2021, but subject to quarterly adjustments) is $1,155 a month plus 57.5 per cent of the resident’s monthly income between $1,584 and $4,564.
There’s also a $22.75 monthly supply charge for personal-hygiene items such as shampoo, toothpaste, and mouthwash.
According to Colleen Book at the Saskatchewan Ministry of Health, those with low incomes may be able to access further income through the federal Guaranteed Income Supplement program (GIS is an adjunct of OAS), as well as the province’s Seniors Income Plan (SIP).
“If an individual is entitled to the maximum GIS, they are also entitled to the maximum SIP benefit,” she says. “An increase in income would lower the GIS entitlement, with a similar reduction to the SIP benefit.”
In addition, she adds, “If residents are struggling with paying their long-term-care fees, they and their significant others may work with a social worker within the Saskatchewan Health Authority to determine options to support them. This option may include a designation whereby only the resident’s income is used to determine the longterm- care fees.”
I suggest you consult the Saskatchewan Health Authority website (saskhealthauthority.ca) or call the head office at 306-655-0080 or (toll free) at 1-833-445-0080 to be put in touch with a social worker in your area to discuss your circumstances and financial concerns.