12/07/2012 10:06 EST | Updated 02/06/2013 05:12 EST

Family struggles with health-care rules after grandmother's stroke

A Calgary family is trying to figure out how to help their aging grandmother stay in the city and get the around-the-clock care she needs.

The family had moved 81-year-old Inez Allen to Alberta from New Brunswick so she could be closer to family. But six weeks later she had a stroke.

That's when they discovered that — because she's lived in Alberta for less than a year — she is not eligible for long-term health-care coverage, according to Alberta's Nursing Home Act.

Allen's grandson Kevin French said the family is devastated by the news.

He says they have filed an appeal, but a social worker that has been in consultation with the family said similar decisions are never overturned.

French and his parents want to keep Allen with them in Calgary, but they he said they can’t afford the fees.

Alberta Health Services said they can't comment on specific patients because of privacy reasons, but said in a written statement to the CBC’s Eyeopener that they sympathize with any family in this situation.

“We can't offer immediate access to long-term care to an out-of-province resident who has not established the one-year residency requirement,” reads the statement.

“But, this policy is in fairness to Albertans who've lived here for at least a year.”

French said it shouldn’t matter what province his grandmother is in — he says she has been paying into healthcare in Canada for 81 years.

Allen is eligible for AHS Home Care — which provides part-time health services — because she has been in Alberta for more than three months, but French said she needs round-the-clock care.