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Alberta Party leader Stephen Mandel speaks to the media after the 2019 Alberta Leaders Debate in Edmonton, Alta., on April 4, 2019.CODIE MCLACHLAN/The Canadian Press

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

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

He says the pilot would be available in mid-sized cities such as Grande Prairie and Medicine Hat 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 establish.

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

He says 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,” he said during his announcement Friday at an Edmonton seniors residence.

“We’re going 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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