My thoughts on a crime enacted on frail elder persons
Elizabeth Nykorowytsch Macnab, Executive Director
As a registered charity, OSSCO’s primary focus is not on advocacy, but educating seniors, families and their informal caregivers, through a variety of means. We delivered awareness workshops on health, finances, living life in community, and elder abuse awareness. As far as we know, OSSCO has developed and presented the only elder abuse awareness workshop specific to and for seniors who are planning to move into retirement homes. These individuals will know what elder abuse looks like, how to prevent it from happening, and how to enact the protection available to them. Living life in retirement and nursing home settings is part of our lives. While 99% (we hope) of the people there live safely, we all know of compliance issues, and orders for corrective action indicating there is work still to be done.
A gasp that went across the province. How could 1 individual murder a frail elderly human being? A human being who is 100% dependent for their care, comfort and life. The emails which I received indicated that if families could afford to pay (and keep) their parents in their homes, they would. There is a renewed commitment to visit parents in LTC/retirement homes to oversee their safety. Was not safety and proper care some of the reasons we entrusted our family members into the professionals in LTC/retirement homes in the first place?
The Woodstock and London police investigation will in due course identify what happened to these 8 people and if more there were more people murdered. I am sure we will have many moments of disbelief and shock as things are uncovered. This should never have happened.
As my husband and I look to “place” a family member in LTC, we will revisit our options, what we will look for. We will not permit ourselves to be “co-oerced” into taking the 1st available emergency placement of a “senior” if we feel it is not a match. We will not be “bullied” into moving a “bed blocker” even if threatened to pay obscene hospital day bed rates until the proper “placement” is found. You may be wondering by I italicized select words. I don’t know about you but I don’t want to be thought of as a bed blocker or as an object to be placed somewhere. I don’t want to be told if we don’t take, right away, the place in LTC that my family member will be dropped to the bottom of the list and we have to start again. I don’t want my family member to be threatened into paying hospital rates (visit Advocacy Centre for the Elderly for stories) and be afraid there is no place for their care. Language has power. When we use it to dehumanize care for an elderly human being, then that human being has little or no relevancy or value to us. As for the word senior, I have heard for nearly 10 years that adults over the age of 50 hate it. No one has yet found a fix for that word but whatever it is, it must continue to recognize the respect and dignity afforded to all human beings.
Click here to read the most recent news on the Woodstock and London murders of older adults in LTC.