Who speaks for our most vulnerable? Community calendar
When I began writing this column two years ago, I wanted it to be a voice for the voiceless — a worthy, if not overly ambitious goal.
There are many issues to which I am drawn, but the one I find most troubling of late is the soon-to-be-established position of seniors’ advocate. I do not intend to expound on it as I did in my last column, but I am still troubled by what that advocate cannot do.
Who speaks for the most vulnerable, I wonder? Who speaks for the infirm who are awakened at 4 a.m. to be washed and then placed in wheelchairs for the rest of the day because there are staff shortages in their institutions?
Who speaks for those who never have a visitor or none that are of any use to them? They are relying on that advocate and will that advocate be there for them? I doubt it. Because that advocate has no mandate to investigate the fear-filled complaint that an individual may whisper in his or her ear.
In two separate emails from the Department of Children, Seniors and Social Development, I am told the advocate will address systemic issues, the broader issues faced by our elderly such as “… accessible transportation.” Individual complaints will be passed along to the Office of the Citizens’ Representative for investigation.
If the seniors’ advocate actually investigated the individual complaints of seniors, it would only duplicate the work of that office, I am told. And what I am told is mere balderdash. It is not duplication to give the seniors’ advocate the power to investigate the individual complaints of seniors, or those receiving their services, it is just common sense.
That person should be there for them and them alone. The Office of the Child and Youth Advocate can investigate on behalf of children, so why can’t the Office of the Seniors’ Advocate do the same for a group that is every bit as helpless? Reading
Bay Roberts breakfast
A breakfast at the Royal Canadian Legion in Bay Roberts.
Special appreciation open mic for Bill Luffman
This is an open mic appreciation day to honour our very own Singing Cobbler Bill Luffman for all his volunteer services throughout our communities. This will be held at the Knights of Columbus in Harbour Grace. Presentations will start at 7 p.m. if anyone would like to come along and made a presentation. For more information call Jack Kent at 596-7342.
Carbonear Legion general meeting
through Hansard, when the position was created last December, I find that Sherry Gambin-Walsh, the minister for seniors, never provided a solid answer to that question.
I think of my own mother, an elderly invalid now deceased, who once told me a home-care worker was handling her too roughly. I complained and the worker was replaced. There was no foolish division of responsibility, which would have increased the agony of this suffering woman. There was only speedy resolution.
What would have been the response if she had been in a nursing-home and had moaned, whimpered and whispered to that seniors’ advocate? I don’t know. But I doubt her problem would have been solved as quickly, if at all.
I am also told in department emails that the Office of the Seniors’ Advocate in this province will be modelled on that of British Columbia, an office “… operating very efficiently and successfully,” despite the advocate having no investigative powers.
I am left to wonder why we must create an office modelled on somebody else’s. Dwight Ball wasn’t looking to British Columbia when he was electioneering. He promised our seniors an advocate who would investigate To all Members of the Royal Canadian Legion Carbonear, there will be a general meeting. For more info call 596-3691.
Celebration of Pete Sampson
At the Royal Canadian Legion in Carbonear, an event honouring Pete Sampson’s 50 years of barbering in the community. Event will feature a slideshow of Pete’s art and a special cake, plus an open mic. Open to the public.
Come Home Year New Perlican
individual complaints, so he must have thought there was a need for it. But it was a promise broken.
I also don’t believe the department when it tells me seniors don’t want their advocate to conduct individual investigations because that would only duplicate the role of the Citizens’ Representative.
“Stakeholders and seniors were very clear that the Office of the Seniors’ Advocate must not duplicate existing services or mandates. Presently in NL, the Office of the Citizens’ Representative accepts complaints from individual adults of all ages including seniors,” one email reads in part.
That answer is just too pat. If our seniors really feel that way, I wonder how the advocate’s position was presented to them. I think of the seniors who can’t afford food, decent accommodation and those living in misery because they don’t have the money to get their teeth fixed and I wonder if they are really satisfied that the advocate created just for them will not be permitted to address a complaint by one of them.
I never see a change in their circumstances, even though their plight is well chronicled and I wonder where the Citizens’ Representative fits in here. We should really make the right of our elderly to live with dignity one of these systemic issues which the Office of the Seniors’ Advocate will be able to address.
I sometimes wonder what this government really thinks of our seniors. The Office of the Child and Youth Advocate has a budget of $1,398,900 for 201718 while the Office of the Seniors’ Advocate has to work with $500,000 for the same period. That is a mere sop.
But the real tragedy here is not about money. It is in denying the person who will occupy this position the right to do the job properly.
“The Office of the Child and Youth Advocate can investigate on behalf of children, so why can’t the Office of the Seniors’ Advocate do the same for a group that is every bit as helpless?”
Celebrating Come Home Year in New Perlican. For more details contact the Town of New Perlican at 583 2500.
Old Perlican Celebrations
A week of events and activities. Visit www.townofoldperlican.ca or the Facebook page for the events schedule.
Carbonear Legion chase the ace
At the Royal Canadian Legion, Carbonear, every Saturday, 11 a.m. to 8:45 p.m. with the draw taking place at 9 p.m. For info call 596-3691.
New Hope Al-ANON
Meets every Tuesday 7:30 p.m. at the U-Turn Addictions Centre in Carbonear, at 46 Powell Drive. A 12-step recovery program for relatives and friends of alcoholics.