Seniors in harm's way

I work with seniors in a supportive role, for a local home care company. Some of these dear people are cognitively impaired due to various stages of dementia, or are physically frail. Whatever the case may be, they are vulnerable and in need of our protection, care and compassion.

I have also worked with individuals with developmental disabilities, most of whom have been low key, happy go lucky, and easy to work with, while others, due to no fault of their own, have been violent, unpredictable and destructive. Many of these are also medicated to lessen the psychotic episodes, which make them more manageable for their own sake, and for the safety of the staff who look after them. 

But, I cannot fathom working with someone who has taken crack cocaine, meth, snorted bath salts, or is black-out drunk. You could not pay me enough to deal with that. How much is my life worth or that of the staff expected to look after them? Never mind the helpless elderly, who are sitting ducks, and likely will become prisoners in their own home because of fear of living next door to active drug usage, and the criminal element that goes along with it. 

It is mind boggling that seniors’ needs and safety are so callously overlooked. 

Our city councillors are favouring one group of the population over another.  Seniors' retirement incomes are quickly eaten up with their housing and other day to day costs for medication, mobility aids, ad infinitum, that go with their increased needs.  

Regarding addiction and homelessness, I have walked in their shoes, and was enabled to continue in my addiction, mainly to alcohol, by well-intentioned parents, as they provided housing for my children and I. 

We owe our lives to them. However, I also did get sober, some 25 years ago, through the help of a 12-step program. My success I accredit to the help of God, my church, family, social agencies, and friends. 

Therefore, I can see supporting the addicted homeless who are clean and trying to stay that way. But, the ones who are not interested in sobriety should be institutionalized instead, which is still kinder than living on the streets, where they are preyed on and in turn, sometimes prey on others.  

Doreen Zyderveld-Hagel, Kelowna

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