SENIORCENTRIC FEB 5, 2021

Scanning the globe for news by, for and about Senior Citizens

Quotables:

Despite improvements in some jurisdictions, older Canadians continue to be at-risk of being infected with vaccine-preventable illnesses. The national average score of D- hasn’t changed since the 2020-2021 report, indicating a disappointing suspension of progress in protecting seniors. 

Adult Vaccination in Canada Cross-Country Report Card
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Vitamin D: Should I be taking a supplement?

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Insiders see major shift coming to the way Alberta cares for the frail

‘The hope here is that we’ll have more community resources,’ says geriatric doctor

Advocates in seniors care are watching what promises to be a major shift in the way Alberta cares for its oldest and most frail.

An expert panel last spring told the UCP government it should fund higher staffing levels in large care facilities by reducing the percentage of patients heading there, squeezing the flow to care homes by increasing support for people trying to live independently at home.

If done well, it would save money and improve the system overall.

But advocates say they are watching closely because there’s a major risk. When people grow frail or ill outside of a care facility, the burden of care often falls on one or two family members.

Stuck monitoring a spouse with dementia 24/7, dealing with a parent who lashes out under aggressive Alzheimer’s, waiting months or longer for respite programs — when the right support isn’t available, these unpaid family caregivers often lose their jobs and income or simply burn out.

Then the frail adult needs a facility-based bed urgently … and Alberta’s health-care bill goes up.

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I feel guilty for checking my mother into long-term care against her will

When she called me a “traitor,” my heart shredded into tiny pieces

“Find your own way home!” my mom screeched as she rolled up her car window. I jumped back, narrowly avoiding crushed fingers.

“Drive Terry!” she ordered as she pinched my dad’s thigh.

“Stop it Mom! Dad’s not going anywhere!” I screamed, losing my patience yet again.

My dad looked defeated and beaten. For close to two hours, my mom had stubbornly resisted our cajoling, pleading and arguing as we tried to get her out of the vehicle and into Villa Caritas, a geriatric psychiatric hospital and the only place in Edmonton that could handle her.

She has aggressive Alzheimer’s. And it’s a hard thing to admit, but like many Canadian families trying to care for older relatives, we reached the point where our family couldn’t handle the swearing, hitting and other behaviour anymore.

At Villa Caritas, the health-care team — a psychiatrist, nurse and orderly — were patiently standing by to admit my mom but it took the hospital’s security guard to convince her to get out of the car. I missed that because I was anxiously pacing and sobbing uncontrollably in the hospital’s foyer. 

She was restrained in a wheelchair and became agitated as she was wheeled past me. “Traitor!” she screamed.

Tears continued to pour down my face as my mom’s accusation cut my heart into tiny pieces. I was overwhelmed by guilt because I had done all the legwork that brought her here. Granted, my dad was signing the legal documents but I had made all the arrangements since emotionally he couldn’t. 

What kind of evil, terrible daughter was I?

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