Seniors deserve better

I would like to thank the staff at Spring Valley Care for the wonderful care given to my mother during the last four months of her life. 

The nurses and care aides tried very hard to keep my mother comfortable. However, many times she waited an hour or more for medication or help due to lack of staff. I witnessed this many times as I spent hours every day with her during her last four months. 

Watching her suffer was heartbreaking. When a senior is ill, vomiting, nauseous, anxious, waiting for help, and her doctor refuses to visit her in the facility, this is not acceptable.

Many seniors find themselves in depressing environments and die prematurely. My mother still had her memory, her mind, and the environment she was in just added to her grief.  

I believe it starts with the doctors. My mother struggled for five years to overcome depression and anxiety. Four years ago, a CT scan indicated she had early stages of hardening of the blood vessels in her head. She kept saying to doctors and family that she wasn’t feeling good, that something was wrong, that she didn’t want to be this way, that she wanted to get better. 

For five years, she put her faith and trust in geriatric psychiatrists and doctors, was given a diagnosis of severe depression, was medicated with at least a dozen different pharmaceuticals, was in and out of hospital and psychiatric facilities, suffered from numerous side-effects, and yet nothing was working.

In August 2018, my mother was transferred to Kamloops Senior Psychiatric Hospital where the geriatric psychiatrist told her she was on too much medication, immediately started to reduce them, and ordered an MRI.  The results confirmed the veins in her head were shrinking, she had lesions, and blood flow was restricted to the part of the brain that controlled depression, anxiety, appetite, focus and concentration. 

The geriatric psychiatrist said she had a 10% chance of recovery. She never recovered and died on April 12, 2019.

For years, my mother was under diagnosed, over medicated, and suffered with many side-effects. This was also very stressful and heartbreaking to the whole family.

Doctors need to start listening more closely, stop over medicating, and perhaps try other treatments such as psychotherapy, counselling, exercise, and diet. Help give them better quality of life in their final years. They deserve better!

Daniela Macdonald

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