We’d all like to die peacefully in our sleep as we lie in our own beds, in our own homes.
We’d like that to happen before we suffer prolonged pain or serious illness.
We’d like that to be while we still remember our friends and family and ourselves.
But the reality is that many of us will need to move into a care facility of some description in our later years.
The only thing that makes that somewhat palatable is the idea that we will not be alone and that there will be people there with our best interests at heart to take care of us, and listen to our wishes.
That’s what makes it so very troubling that provincial Seniors Advocate Isobel Mackenzie found serious problems with the care that many, many seniors are receiving.
There is no excuse that could possibly make it okay that a whopping one-third of seniors in care are being given anti-psychotic drugs, when only four per cent have been diagnosed with a psychiatric illness.
That is totally unacceptable. Seniors in care are being pumped full of medication that they don’t need. For what reason? To charge them for the drugs? To make them docile? What?
These drugs often have serious side effects, ones that can be particularly harmful to people who take them who do not have a psychiatric condition.
These side effects include sedation, cognitive impairment and muscle and movement disorders.
So people are essentially being drugged into a stupor where they can’t even move properly.
It’s leading people to be diagnosed with things like Parkinson’s and dementia when they have nothing of the kind.
The thought of it makes the blood boil when we consider it could happen to a loved one, and freeze when we consider it could happen to us when we are older.
Then there’s the fact that thousands of seniors in care in B.C. would be supported in the community if they lived in another province.
Sometimes all it would take is proper amounts of physiotherapy.
Clearly we must do better for our seniors. It will be us one day.