11/20/2014 11:19 EST | Updated 01/20/2015 05:59 EST

Alberta, Ottawa announce more money for seniors lodges in rural regions

EDMONTON - The Alberta government says it is partnering with the federal government to spend $160 million over the next fours years on renovating or replacing seniors' lodges in rural parts of the province.

The province says in a news release that it will work with housing management bodies to complete a full evaluation of seniors lodges to determine priority projects.

Premier Jim Prentice says ensuring that seniors can age with dignity in the communities they helped build is one of his government's priorities.

He says increasing the number and quality of the spaces available in rural communities will "help keep seniors in their hometowns where they feel connected and secure."

Candice Bergen, the federal minister of state for social development, says Ottawa's partnership with Alberta on affordable housing should make it easier for rural seniors to have access to the services they need.

Alberta Seniors Minister Jeff Johnson notes nearly 70 per cent of seniors lodges are outside of the province's major cities.

"Multi-year investments like this are critical to ensuring aging properties are appropriately maintained or replaced," said Johnson.

The province noted that in the last four years, it has dedicated more than $220 million toward seniors' housing across the province.

Some of the places where lodges have been renovated or replaced include Boyle, Camrose, Canmore, Drayton Valley, Forestburg and Milk River.