Se­niors just need sup­ports

The Compass - - EDITORIAL -

New­found­land and Labrador’s ag­ing pop­u­la­tion con­sists of a fluid group of peo­ple, many of whom worked for wages well be­low the na­tional av­er­age, paid taxes, vol­un­teered in com­mu­nity or­ga­ni­za­tions, and bought ap­pli­ances when bro­ken — not when a new style or colour came to mar­ket. Most had one, maybe two, couches in a life­time.

Se­niors are now looked upon as the so­cial prob­lem. How will gov­ern­ments man­age? Well se­niors are a chang­ing de­mo­graphic, for sure, but most of the prob­lem has been gov­ern­ment’s cre­ation.

Com­mu­nity-based or­ga­ni­za­tions such as the VON pro­vide ser­vices we need within our so­ci­ety. It is puz­zling that we let the ser­vice slip away with lit­tle thought to con­se­quence. Wrap­around ser­vices once of­fered by re­li­gious and ser­vice or­ga­ni­za­tions who owned se­niors homes and hous­ing has been whisked away by health-care boards who view peo­ple with re­gard solely to fis­cal man­age­ment. Those wrap­around sup­port ser­vices once of­fered a sense of op­tions. Has plan­ning solely fo­cused on keep­ing hos­pi­tal beds free and less so qual­ity of life for se­niors through­out this prov­ince?

Var­i­ous pub­lic in­for­ma­tion book­lets tell us when our loved ones need more help you need to ar­range for some­one to come in, all the while know­ing that some­one is a fic­tional char­ac­ter that likely you will not find. That level of ser­vice is lim­ited and some may say rare.

Some se­niors hope is­sues will be taken care of through the de­vel­op­ment of a se­niors of­fice within gov­ern­ment. That is what dis­abil­ity groups thought when they lob­bied for a dis­abil­ity pol­icy of­fice. Progress is de­pen­dent on a lottery sit­u­a­tion wherein one hopes to get a min­is­ter sym­pa­thetic to the cause as well as hav­ing the po­lit­i­cal will and for­ti­tude to bring for­ward so­lu­tions. It has been a won­der­ful place to hide.

So when busy peo­ple of the fu­ture look for ser­vices for Mom and Dad, beware — you are that ser­vice. Fam­i­lies have an obli­ga­tion to sup­port each other but we also live in a so­ci­ety that be­lieves our taxes pay, in part, for some ba­sic level of af­ford­able op­tions. It may well be at this point one real­izes the VON left qui­etly, as have so many sup­port ser­vices.

It is at this point, when you are won­der­ing what you are go­ing to do, that you must ask the over­rid­ing ques­tion. Can it be that so­cial plan­ning and ser­vice is ac­tu­ally as im­por­tant as oil?

So when busy peo­ple of the fu­ture look for ser­vices for Mom and Dad, beware — you are that ser­vice.

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