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Letters: Do we really care about the elderly?

Richmond News reader Mary Phillips questions where our priorities lie when it comes to caring for the elderly
A long term care home in B.C. was ahead of the COVID curve due to good management, according to a UBC study.

Dear Editor,

I do not have a friend or relative in a long- term care home in B.C., but like the families of those who have died in 2020, I am getting tired of the provincial updates continuing to offer condolences, but little in terms of information as to why the deaths continue unabated and what is being done to try and stop them.

Seniors in long-term care account for 70 per cent of the 901 deaths recorded to the end of 2020.

However, the focus on actively improving the safety of long-term care home residents does not seem to have materialized.

Instead, forbidding extended families from seeing each other seems to dominate the attention of  B.C.’s health minister and health officer.

But forbidding family members from visiting their loved ones does not seem to have stopped the deaths and has definitely made life less worth living for the long-term care residents.

Calls from the homes and the provincial seniors advocate for same-day daily testing for all staff going into these homes has been continually ignored. The quick test may not be as accurate as the other tests but surely it is better than nothing.

Focussing on the care actually received in the long-term care homes and ways to improve the level of staffing in terms of numbers and training (this will probably mean ending the accepted practise of making profit out of the care of the vulnerable elderly!) would seem to me to be a far more likely way to address the deaths from COVID-19.

Do we, as a society, really care about the elderly?

Maybe we could take a leaf out of the book of the COVID-19 hero Milan Kljajic, at Richmond’s Kiwanis Towers, where there has not been one case of COVID-19 out of 400 residents (oldest 97, average age 76), in great part due to his efforts and ”extraordinary care and love,” according to one grateful resident.

Mary Phillips