Over the past five years Terry Inigo-Jones has seen his mother moved to five different long-term care and supportive living facilities.
The Calgary native shared his story to the 100-plus who attended a forum on health care and seniors at the Golden Circle in Red Deer Wednesday. The event was hosted by the Friends of Medicare and Public Interest Alberta.
“Every time my mother’s level of care reached a new level and she needed more care than she did before, the facility would say they can’t handle her anymore and that she’s got to move,” said Inigo-Jones, whose mother suffers from dementia.
“Dementia patients find routine and familiarity important. Every move is very difficult for them to get settled.”
Inigo-Jones said one of the challenges in the health care system is dealing with differing types of operators.
“You have private for-profit operators, you have non-for-profit operators and then you have the publicly run ones,” he said. “When a patient’s profile doesn’t fit what that operator’s doing anymore they move the patient somewhere else. If you had a more unified system that was more fluid you wouldn’t have to change from one operator to another. You could have the care come to the patient.”
A solely public system would “deliver a higher level of care,” he added.
“If you’re a senior citizen, you’ve been paying into the system your entire working life. You deserve the best because you’ve paid for the best,” he said.
Other topics discussed at the Wednesday’s forum included the need for better local acute care resources, the benefits of a universal pharmaceutical coverage program and the lack of nursing home beds in the region.
Red Deer’s Anita Thomas said many of the issues discussed are not new.
“We’ve experienced this for so many years,” said Thomas. “We should look to the countries that have a much more significant elder population than we do – we’re actually a young province and a young country. We should see what kind of solutions they’ve come up with.”
Sharon Dayman, of Red Deer, said fixing some of these issues is “going to take a major overhaul of the system.”
“We need legislatures and administrators that are willing to … listen to what the need is and act on it. It’s been so frustrating for so many years,” she said.
The forum featured various speakers, including a local pharmacist and Coun. Ken Johnston.