LETTERS: Speak up for our seniors in long-term care

Jan Coates of Agassiz believes in the power of your voice

This letter has been edited to meet letter to the editor length limits. Letters may be edited for taste, clarity and brevity.

Dear Editor:

Within our lifetimes, we will experience times of challenge, whether on a personal level or within a broader scope. And perhaps many of us have been able to seize an opportunity that arose out of such adversity – make lemonade out of lemons, so to speak.

I believe that we are all presented with such an opportunity right now as a consequence of what we’ve learned from COVID-19 about the failure of Canada to adequately care for our seniors in long-term care facilities. It’s complicated given that the federal government has no jurisdiction over delivery of health care – that lies with each province and territory. However, the federal government provides much of the funding and strong leadership and collaboration with the provinces should be part of the equation.

Information emerged about the horrific treatment of seniors in long-term care facilities in Ontario and Quebec. Both prior to COVID and during, we have become aware of inconsistent and inadequate conditions in care facilities within B.C. It’s clear that our provincial legislation must be amended to ensure adequate spacing, staff-resident ratios and equipment availability.

Isobel Mackenzie stated that she noticed a remarkable, recent surge of public interest and support for improving the quality of care given to our B.C. seniors living in care and she believes that public sentiment is certainly influencing our government to act. To paraphrase her: public concern equals government commitment.

Let’s seize this opportunity to be instrumental in bringing much needed change to the way that we care for our grandparents, aunts, uncles, parents and yes, ultimately perhaps ourselves. Your voice can make a difference – but only if you let it be heard!

Jan Coates


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