SENIORS WORTH CARING FOR

If you saw the W-5 investigation into the treatment of seniors in full time care facilities then I?m sure you were as shocked as I was at the results. The pushing and shoving of their failing bodies. Being left for extended periods in their own waste as, unable to ask for assistance, they wait for someone to finally notice them. CTV estimates that as much as 7% of seniors in full time care centres are being abused. As difficult as it was to watch, however, it is past the time that we started to understand and address this serious problem.

To set the record straight, the results mean that 93% of senior in care facilities are not being abused and that more than 90% of care providers are doing good work in this very important job. But that is cold comfort for those who are suffering from abuse, and it does nothing to answer the question of how it gets started and why we haven?t done more to address the problem.

We all know that bullies and thugs love to pick those who are weak or frail or afraid. So seniors who are dependent on others for their daily care are prime targets. They cannot fight back and they cannot speak up. Often abused seniors are too frightened to even tell their families of their treatment. As a result they end up having to endure disgraceful treatment for their last days, weeks, months or years.

When seniors do relate their troubles they are often ignored. Perhaps they are forgetful, or have a touch of dementia. It is all too easy to dismiss a senior?s complaints as something they are making up or imagining. Those who have an Alzheimer disorder are even more prone to being patted on the head as we walk away unconvinced, or at least unconvinced enough to file a complaint.

The mistreatment of seniors is a national issue, but our own conservative MP seems not to notice. He rarely, if ever, raises the problem in the House of Commons and has never, ever offered meaningful options on how to deal with this serious problem. It is not good enough to point your finger and assign blame during an election campaign. And it is also not good enough to be more interested in tax breaks for foreign multinational corporations than you are in the people who made the excellent country we live in today.

There needs to be strict laws to deal with senior abuse, just as we have for child abuse. People who do mistreat seniors need to be aware of the serious consequences for being found guilty. There needs to be a national hot line for families who fear abuse, and for those seniors who are still able to file their own complaints. Action needs to be taken when concerns are filed.

As I seek a nomination to run for the House of Commons in Prince George ?Peace River a significant part of my platform is to deal with national issues like healthcare and senior care. The reason is simple. What can be more important than caring for those loved ones that helped make the world we now enjoy? So join me as, together, we work to end the abuse and mistreatment of our fine seniors, and repair the damage to our healthcare system. Have great week everyone!