Sunday, 15 December 2019

“In the end I can say that what I have learned about myself is how incredibly strong I am, because I have to be,” said disability rights advocate Joanne Larade in February at a panel on the lack of suitable housing for people with severe disabilities. At the panel she explained what it is like to find yourself, at the age of 42, living among people with dementia, many twice your age. Joanne passed away early last week.

Imagine being 28-years-old and not being able to decide what you are going to eat for dinner—or breakfast or lunch. Imagine having to live with people who scare or threaten you. Imagine living down a hallway from someone who sexually assaulted you, and you are told not to make a fuss. All this can and does happen to people with severe physical disabilities who must live in nursing homes in Nova Scotia. Judy Haiven on the need for community living options for people with severe physical disabilities.

We talk with Dr. Ellen Hickey about how in Nova Scotia we give up way too easily on people with dementia. “When it comes to long term care, all you hear is doctors, drugs, nurses. What about the rest of the team? There is all kinds of know-how that will help keep people off these drugs, that will keep them out of the doctor’s office. Isn’t that what it is all about?”

Karis Mitchell: Nova Scotia needs a provincial long term care strategy that revisits training and staffing hours so that the care facilities can provide the optimal care that is required by its residents. To be placed in a care facility at such a vulnerable stage in our lives can be traumatizing, so it is our responsibility to ensure that we speak openly about these concerns. We must speak up for those that do not have a voice, and those that voices that may not be perceived as valuable in our society.