more money for in-home nursing care and home improvements more than 500 nursing-home beds giving seniors a friendly, caring place to live lowering the cost of generic drugs, and investing more than $3 million so more than 100,000 seniors do not have to pay more for their Pharmacare premiums and co-payments returning the provincial income tax to 17,000 low-income seniors who receive the Guaranteed Income Supplement an increase in the land tax rebate the provincial portion of the HST off of home heating poverty reduction credit the affordable living tax credit seniors housing repair grants seniors’ affordable housing throughout the province Strategic Planning and Development: to help municipalities identify age friendly priorities and plans based on a community’s unique needs and to help develop age friendly resources. Projects: to help municipalities and community partners create or adapt structures or services to be more accessible and inclusive of seniors. A provincial grant program is helping make communities more accessible and inclusive to seniors with varying needs and abilities. The program has two components, strategic planning and development, and projects. “The government continues to help communities plan for the future and make changes that will help seniors and all the residents,” said Minister of Seniors Denise Peterson-Rafuse today, April 20 The age-friendly grants provide funding for: When the program was introduced in 2008, it funded projects that created or adapted infrastructure, programs and services to be more accessible to seniors. In 2010, the department expanded the program to support municipalities with strategic planning. In 2012-13 the program is focusing on supporting municipalities with strategic planning and developing age-friendly resources. Through the grants, the province provides municipalities with cost-shared funding up to $5,000. The grants help municipalities with two phases of strategic planning, with each phase spanning a calendar year. The first phase is community assessments to help identify community-specific priorities. The second phase is developing municipal plans. For projects, the program helps municipalities adapt structures and services. Former projects include installing benches along a trail, green gym equipment in parks and hosting age-friendly events. “In addition to the grants, the provincial budget continues to make life better and more affordable for many seniors by helping them stay in their homes and in their communities longer,” said Ms. Peterson-Rafuse. Some provincial budget initiatives include: Application forms for the Age-friendly Grant Program and information about other programs are available at www.gov.ns.ca/seniors or by calling toll-free 1-800-670-0065. The deadline for project applications is June 29. Strategic Planning and Development applications will be accepted until Dec. 31.