Thursday, June 17, 2010

Long Term Care Blues

        A fellow blogger posted on the inadequacies and problems of long term care when it came to placing her aging parents. She has written extensively on this topic and published a book "Living and Dying With Dignity" by Jennifer A. Jilks.  This reminds me of two experiences our family recently had with long term care.

       My aunt lived in her own home until Dec. 2009 when she suffered a stroke and was hospitalized . She was 96 years old. After 4 weeks in hospital she had recovered enough from the stroke to be discharged. The problem? There was no place for her to go. She was not able to move back to her home. She had done well as she had limited vision and hearing but she would not give up her little house. At 96 she was told she would have to wait a year for long term care placement. It is beyond my limited comprehension how any system could ask a 96 year old to wait a year??? What are they thinking? 96 year olds are frail and need help now not a year from now.

      Our aunt went to a small apartment and with the help of her friends was able to survive. She proved my main point as this spring (2010) she died and therefore no longer required  any long term care.

      My father died in Feb. 2008 at age 95. Dad married a spunky Manitoba girl in 1975 so he lived in Manitoba from 1975 - 2006. Until that point he had lived his entire life in Saskatchewan. In Feb. 2006 0ur step mom died which left Dad in a nursing home 600km from his family. We had a step sister there but that's not fair to expect your step sister to look after your Dad. If I had been Dad's only child and had wanted to bring him to Alberta, where I reside, he would have had to reside in Alberta for one year before he could apply for long term care. It's unthinkable that someone at age 93 would have to wait one year for long term care placement. Fortunately, I have three brothers who live in Saskatchewan and he was able to move to a Sask. long term care facility in 6 weeks.  

     I have to question the wisdom of our politicians and officials who  make policy which requires elderly people to wait for long term care. These people do not seem to be in touch with reality when they think that very elderly people can wait to be admitted to long term care.