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PENINSULA ZOOMERS: Plenty to consider as seniors cast votes

CARP virtual meeting outlined concerns about long term care

Oh promises, promises

I’m all through with promises, promises now

Maybe Dionne Warwick is through with promises, but currently, British Columbians are being inundated with promises.

There’s a provincial election around the corner and both major parties are making all kinds of promises.

As seniors, we want to know what’s in it for us. What promises are they making to us, the largest voting cohort?

On Oct. 1, 2020 more than 3,000 Canadians joined CARP’s National Seniors Day Online Event. October 1 marked the 10th annual observation of Seniors Day in Canada.

CARP celebrated with the largest ever virtual meeting of seniors in Canada with four regional breakout sessions, including British Columbia.

We also held a national moment of silence for the thousands of seniors who have died of COVID-19 in long-term care homes across Canada.

In fact, 80 percent of COVID-19 deaths occurred in long-term care facilities.

Politicians, are you listening?

The tragedy of these untimely deaths was the focus of our BC virtual session led by CARP North Fraser chapter president and dementia consultant and author, Karen Tyrell. Karen has been working in the long-term care sector for over 25 years. COVID-19 has helped shine a light on the many challenges happening in long-term Care (LTC).

The following top concerns identified in our LTC facilities during COVID-19 are:

• Lack of accountability and consistency for LTC providers (direct care hours)

• LTC homes should have “Family Councils,” but they are not being encouraged or enforced

• Staffing: number of staff; pay (public vs private); sick time; lack of appreciation

• Training: appropriate and ongoing (i.e. Dementia units – puts people at risk for injury)

• Impact of 14 day quarantine on resident’s mental health

• Wi-Fi currently not available in all rooms – should be an essential service for improved connections with family and friends

• Staff only able to work at one location (staff shortages and pay incentives)

• Reports of poor air quality and circulation in older LTC homes;

• Will our current frontline healthcare providers become burnt out?

Politicians, have I got your attention yet?

CARP is proposing:

• Respite for caregiving at home (comfortable “Respite Resorts”; more Adult Day Programs; affordable in-home respite)

• Family caregivers to have access to financial relief (Federal Tax Credit refund or a rebate)

• No CPP penalties for those who leave the workforce to care for a family member in the community.

Politicians, are you hearing us?

Karen would like to keep the conversations going so that we can do what we can to encourage our governments to make changes now.

She held two Zoom discussions earlier in October and CARP looks forward to reviewing the results.

She invites you to another Zoom online session which will take place on Tuesday, Nov. 3, 2020 from 10 a.m. to 11:30 a.m. entitled Dementia Safety Solutions for Families.

This online session focuses on keeping seniors safe and connected while at home during COVID-19 and beyond. This information session is ideal for family caregivers who are caring for a family member with dementia, and who live in their own home.

A Zoom link will be provided to registrants. Please register at:

https://www.eventbrite.ca/e/dementia-safety-solutions-for-families-tickets-109399827830

Meanwhile the politicians vying for your vote on Oct. 24 are promising more LTC beds with eventually all rooms to be single-occupancy.

They are promising to train and hire more healthcare workers. They are promising more in-home care support to keep people out of LTC facilities. Building new hospitals.

Yada, yada, yada.

Promises!

Understand the issues before you cast your vote. The life you may be saving could be your own.

April Lewis is the local communications director for CARP, a national group committed to a ‘New Vision of Aging for Canada.’ She writes monthly.

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