February 5, 2013
of community support needed for elderly facing challenges of daily living
Submitted by Myrtle Macdonald, Chilliwack
middle class, formerly professional, elderly people are living in poverty in
Assisted Living (or in Home Care one hour a week or twice a month.
In either case, assistance with a bath is seldom more than once a week. The
30% of their income they are allowed to keep for themselves gets clawed back
to pay for TV, phone, hair dresser, foot care, hydro, fire insurance,
personal security call button, Tai Chi, bus trips and a meal for a visitor.
If they are incontinent they pay for their pads and panties which easily
cost more the $100 per month.
No one does high
dusting, or even medium reach dusting, in their tiny apartment. No
one shampoos their carpets or puts in easy care laminate flooring.
No one repairs or replaces their run down old walker. There is no
money left over to buy shoes, clothes, toilet articles or breakfast
If they never were on Welfare they have no source of funds for eye
glasses, walker, dental work or hearing aids. The bank of used
hearing aids available from Lions is of outdated equipment that
their fingers are not nimble enough to adjust.
Handidart is not available unless ordered a day or two ahead. Wait
times are unpredictable, going and coming. A one hour event takes
half a day or more.
Their son or daughter may live far away and have become elderly
also. If their local relative no longer has a car, they depend on
Handidart or TaxiSaver tickets to visit them. Only $80 worth are
available per month, so get used up in the first two weeks.
It is embarrassing to ask old friends to take them to their church,
to special events or appointments to their doctor, dentist or
hearing aid consultants. Church friends help a lot, but they are
elderly too and overworked as volunteers, and many are poor
themselves in their old age.
A varied program of activities, bingo, craft classes, exercise
classes, gift sales and demonstrations, church services and even
brunch and happy hour, sound great on their monthly calendar, but
the truth is that attendance at all their events is minimal. Why?
Largely purposelessness and boredom I think. The pool table and
shuffle board are seldom used.
For entertainment some sit in the entrance hall to see people coming
and going through the front door. At least they are greeted by
someone else's visitor, who notices and recognizes them.
About Myrtle Macdonald
Myrtle Macdonald has an MSc Applied
in Nursing and Research from McGill University, Montreal. Her Minor
is in the Social Sciences (Anthropology and Psycho-Sociology).
She has worked in many hospital, nursing education and community
health roles in six provinces of Canada and four countries overseas.
She is 91 years of age and is still active in:
• Mental Health Advisory Committee,
• BC Schizophrenia Society,
• Rail for the Valley
• Ecologic-BC (environmental issues)
• singing in the choir at St. Thomas Anglican Church.
is nearing completion of her book called People Migrations in
Europe and America; 2000 Years of Nation-Building.
"It is almost
ready for publishing. It is background work for family genealogy
search, and it accurately brings together a lot of significant
history ignored in high school and university textbooks," wrote
On A Satirical Note
Submitted by Myrtle Macdonald, Chilliwack
We should start a new political party
with this mandate ...
Dear Mr. Prime minister,
Please find below our suggestion for
fixing Our economy.
Instead of giving billions of dollars to banks that will squander
the money on lavish parties and unearned bonuses, use the following
plan. You can call it the Patriotic Retirement Plan:
There are about 10 million people over 50 in the work force.
Pay them 1 million dollars each severance for early retirement with
the following stipulations:
1) They MUST retire.
Ten million job openings - Unemployment fixed
2) They MUST buy a new car.
Ten million cars ordered - Car Industry fixed
3) They MUST either buy a house or pay off their mortgage - Housing
4) They MUST send their kids to school/college/university - Crime
5) They MUST buy $50 WORTH of alcohol/tobacco a week
And there's your money back in duty/tax
etc. It can't get any easier than that! If more money is needed,
have all Government members of Parliament and Senators pay back
their falsely claimed expenses and second home allowances. If you
think this would work, please forward to everyone you know.
How about putting the very elderly pensioners in jail and the
criminals in a nursing home? That way the pensioners would have
access to showers, hobbies and walks. They'd receive unlimited free
prescriptions, dental and medical treatment, wheel chairs etc and
they'd receive money instead of paying it out.
They would have constant video monitoring, so they could be helped
instantly, if they fell, or needed assistance. Bedding would be
washed twice a week, and all clothing would be ironed and returned
A guard would check on them every 20 minutes and bring their meals
and snacks to their cell. They would have family visits in a suite
built for that purpose. They would have access to a library, weight
room, spiritual counselling, pool and education.
Simple clothing, shoes, slippers, PJ's and legal aid would be free,
on request. Private, secure rooms for all, with an exercise outdoor
yard, with gardens. Each senior could have a PC, a TV, radio and
daily phone calls.
There would be a board of directors to hear complaints, and the
guards would have a code of conduct that would be strictly adhered
The criminals would get cold food, be left all alone and
unsupervised. Lights off at 8pm, and showers once a week. Live in a
tiny room and pay $300.00 per week and with little hope of ever
More points of contention: [Think about this...]
Is it just me, or does anyone else find it amazing that during the
mad cow epidemic our government could track a single cow, born in
Alberta years ago, right to the stall where she slept in the barn?
And, they even tracked her calves to their stalls. But they are
unable to locate 125,000 illegal immigrants wandering around our
country. Maybe we should give each of them a cow.
It is time grumpy old folks of Canada spoke up!
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