Where are all our elderly citizens going to live?

Writer asks what we need to do to have more homes built for our elderly.

Editor,

In response to the letter to the editor Action needed to help dementia patient caregivers published Oct. 4.

I support 100 per cent this letter written by the Smithers Caregivers Support Group who are trying to get “more help for a spouse or parent who is dealing with Alzheimers, some form of dementia or who has reached a place in their life’s journey where they are no longer able to live independently.”

Smithers has a three storey hospital that, I am told, has only a minimum amount of beds for sick patients. Rooms sit empty which are saved for specialists who fly into Smithers to see patients. Could they not revolve a few offices, staggering the specialists visits so that more rooms can be opened to patients? Our Bulkley Valley District Hospital bedrooms need to be re-opened to supply the demand of patients. The Smithers hospital is also receiving patients from Granisle, Smithers Landing, Houston, Moricetown, Fort Babine, Telkwa and people from other isolated places.

My father-in-law who was born and raised in Smithers had to be sent to a care home in Salmon Arm because there were no available homes for him anywhere between Prince Rupert and Prince George. In his advanced stage of dementia he is still asking anyone who visits him why they cannot take him “home to Smithers.”

We have no drop-in medical clinics in Smithers for the sick, so the overflow has to go to the emergency room in the hospital. My 15-year-old grandson has just spent five hours waiting for an x-ray for his injured shoulder. A friend also in the hospital emergency waiting room has been waiting five hours simply for a new prescription for a bladder infection. Seriously? When the emergency room has such a backup of patients can’t a second or third doctor be called in to help get patients in and out of the emergency room? We are told that Smithers attracts more doctors for the “wonderful lifestyle” they enjoy here. If they don’t all have a family practice, are not some available for hospital emergencies when patients are waiting hours and hours?

As the Smithers Caregivers Support Group indicated, Bulkley Lodge and the Meadows are maxed out so loved ones are living in the hospital or at home until there is room for them. What do we need to do to have more homes built for our elderly?

I concur with the Smithers Caregivers that we have a huge problem in our community that is growing and will only get worse. Where are all our elderly citizens going to live once they cannot live on their own?

Please Northern Health and Minister of Health, do something.

This letter was sent to the Honorable Adrian Dix, BC Legislative Assembly with no reply to me; Nathan Cullen, MP for Skeena — no reply; Doug Donaldson, MLA for Stikine no reply; Northern Health in Prince George sent me an email that my letter was received; Cormac Hikisch, adminisrator for the Bulkley Valley District Hospital, who not only sent me a reply but asked to meet with me.

Sincerely,

Carol Morris

Smithers

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