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Don’t use no trespass laws in Ontario retirement homes

The Ottawa Citizen Editorial Board, The Ottawa Citizen

(Note from Lise: There have been cases in Ottawa involving caregivers who were also banned from long-term care facilities, despite the fact that they had not been abusive to staff in any way).

This is a ham-fisted way of dealing with conflicts; surely it would be easier for a retirement home to sit down with an upset relative and work out whatever the problem is. Most families want only what is best for their loved one. Imagine your parent lives in a retirement home, dependent on your regular visits for companionship and support. Now imagine you run afoul of the home’s management for one reason or another – let us say you were upset about your loved one’s treatment, and you yelled at a staffer. In some cases, the retirement home might react by barring you from the premises. You couldn’t visit your aging loved one. If that seems like an extreme reaction, it is. Yet the Advocacy Centre for the Elderly says it gets an average of a call a week from people slapped with a no-trespass order from a retirement home or a long-term care facility. Often, it’s because the visitor was upset at staff about a relative’s care and acted in a way the facility’s management felt was abusive, such as yelling or swearing.

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Seniors’ homes using ‘trespass orders’ to ban family members from visiting

Katie Pedersen, Melissa Mancini, David Common, CBC News, Marketplace

Mary Sardelis wasn’t allowed to visit her 97-year-old mother’s Ottawa retirement home for almost a year. Sardelis lives less than five minutes away from her mother Voula, but the home prevented Sardelis from seeing her, using sections of Ontario’s trespass law.

“For 316 days … I was banned from entering the home,” she said. “You have no idea of the toll it’s taken.” She could call, but her mother’s hearing is poor and she often couldn’t understand what her daughter was saying. “All I could hear was her fears or concerns. And I couldn’t even soothe her.” Sardelis was banned from City View Retirement Community in Ottawa, Ontario, under the Ontario’s Trespass to Property Act. So-called trespass orders allow private property owners to limit who can come onto the premises and, some experts say, are being increasingly used to keep out family members who complain about conditions in retirement and long-term care homes. 

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With baby boomers aging, the cost of long-term care is set to triple

Bonnie-Jeanne MacDonald and Michael Wolfson, The Globe and Mail

First published on October 8, 2019

Long-term care in Canada is facing major sustainability challenges – and it’s an issue that we cannot afford to ignore. Research released in October 2019  by the National Institute on Ageing at Ryerson University shows that if Canada continues on its current track, the cost of publicly funded long-term care for seniors – including nursing homes and home care – is expected to more than triple in 30 years, rising from $22-billion to $71-billion, in today’s dollars. Keep in mind that governments fund these costs from general tax revenues. Unlike the Canada/Quebec Pension Plan, there is no special fund or program to cover the costs of long-term care in Canada. And it is not covered under the Canada Health Act in the same way as physician and hospital care. 

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Helpline launched for caregivers in Ontario

The Canadian Press, Toronto

Family caregivers in Ontario now have a helpline if they’re needing respite, a support group or information on issues including tax credits .The Ontario Caregiver Organization’s chief executive officer, Amy Coupal, says caregivers are experiencing frustration and even depression as a result of their responsibilities, and have responded to a survey saying it’s challenging to find support. She says a third of caregivers are not coping well emotionally, and that number increases to more than half for those caring for someone with a mental-health issue. The helpline connects caregivers to a community resource representative 24 hours a day, seven days a week, and a live chat site is also available between 7 a.m. and 9 p.m., during weekdays. An online survey by the Change Foundation and the caregiver organization included 800 caregivers, and was conducted province-wide in the spring, showing 56 per cent of respondents find the process difficult — compared with 39 per cent last year — and more of them are now under financial strain.

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Beds, yes. But we need other approaches to long-term care, too.

The Editorial Board, The Ottawa Citizen

The wait list to get into long-term care will go up over the next five years, despite the Ontario government’s plan to quickly add 15,000 long-term spaces. If you have an elderly relative or friend, you care about this outrageous reality – in which frail older couples are sent to different care homes after decades of marriage; families are given virtually no choice about the quality or location of the long-term home their relative goes to; people are forced to make long-term care decisions on a few days’ notice; and loved ones deteriorate as they wait months it to access this care. 

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