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Trail vigil postponed; take a moment to reflect services lost, seniors

Letter to the Editor from the Society for the Protection and Care of Seniors
The Society for Protection and Care of Seniors asks people to pause on Feb. 19 to reflect on services lost and problems seniors face with health care. Photo: K. Chirag on Unsplash

Since 2007 the Society for the Protection and Care of Seniors (SPCS) has held an annual ‘Lost Services’ Vigil on hospital grounds, Feb. 19.

The purpose is to remember when the Albo family found no care bed available locally and Frances Albo was transferred to Grand Forks, only to die, alone, two days later, on Feb. 19, 2006.

However, due to COVID-19 restrictions, the vigil will not take place this year.

The society asks persons concerned by the lost services and problems facing seniors with health care, to instead take a few moments that same day, to reflect in solidarity on the issues raised by the vigil.

Details can be found on the SPCS website at:

In 2002 there was a loss of residential care beds with the closure of Trail’s Kiro Manor and Rossland’s Mater Misericordiae. The intent by the Interior Health Authority (IHA) was to introduce enhanced services in supporting seniors to remain in their homes longer.

There was development of Silver City Gardens (supportive housing) and Rosewood Village (subsidized assisted living and complex care). However, support has not kept pace with the increased demands of our aging population.

Unfortunately, concerns remain regarding seniors’ care and how it is delivered not only in the Greater Trail community, but throughout Interior Health and province wide.

The focus of SPCS continues to be addressing the following ‘Lost Services’ concerns:

- Home Support services not meeting the full needs of clients; hours of service provided don’t necessarily meet the need to support clients in their homes.

- Early discharge of seniors from acute care with inadequate publicly-funded Home Support being provided to meet the individual’s safety and health needs.

- Home Support now funded by client on a sliding scale and there is an increased expectation by IHA for seniors to supplement the few Home Support hours with privately- funded services and increased reliance on family/friends to meet their care needs, often to the detriment of their own health and well-being.

- Some seniors are being moved out of their home community in Greater Trail to temporary placements in New Denver and Grand Forks causing hardship of travel for family and they may face the following choices:

-​accepting the first available bed

- going into a privately-paid residential bed which average $5,000 a month

-​returning home while receiving some Home Support and family is left to pick up the additional 24 hour care and/or hire support from a private- pay agency

- paying over $1,300 per day for each additional day spent occupying acute care bed

Frances married Alfred Albo in 1936.

There was a possibility that this couple would have celebrated their 70th anniversary in just a few months after Fannie’s death.

Would it have happened?

We don’t know, but the opportunity was denied by the health system that failed these two seniors. Friday Feb. 19 is a day to reflect on changes needed.

Society for the Protection and Care of Seniors