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My 87-year-old mother is in Kings County Hospital awaiting a new home in a long-term care facility. Depending on who you talk to, this wait could be a year or more. Despite the generous and skilled frontline staff, her quality of life is being compromised.
There is very little opportunity for social activity, she has had limited physiotherapy. The programs that would be available to her in a manor are simply not available in an acute care hospital.
From what I have seen, the entire ward is filled with others who are in a very similar situation. I’ve been told there are at least 14 people ahead of my mother who are also waiting for placement.
Recently, the Riverview Manor in Montague was opened with the predictable wave of photo opportunities. The need for this facility was established in 2007. It was announced by various governments over the last 12 years.
Misguided priorities and short-sighted political decision making kept it on the shelf for nearly a generation.
By the time the manor was replaced, it was already inadequate, with one less bed than the original building had. It doesn’t address the desperate need of the increasing senior population.
To fine tune the chain of culpability for this systemic negligence will not address the crises that we are in the midst of.
Islanders need definitive action.
A commission similar to the framework and scope of Horace Carver’s Land Use could and should be established immediately. This arm's length commission would go tip-to-tip, mandated to identify the needs of senior Islanders and those approaching their senior years.
Senior care must stop being a political football and a line item on a department head's budget.
Recommendations from this commission should be given priority. One can hope, given this consensus-based government, that appropriate action will be taken without delay. Another generation should not be forced to live with the status-quo.