The impact of the pandemic on seniors has been significant and is changing by the day as governments locally and internationally respond to it.
While we are all adapting on the fly, the impact on seniors in our communities have been compounded by the risks posed by the virus, the restrictions placed on their lives to preserve their health, and the lack of supports available to them during this crisis.
The safety and well-being of our seniors is paramount, and restrictions on visitations were put in place to keep our loved ones safe. However, we have heard of multiple cases of residents at long-term care homes are not receiving sufficient interaction or engagement with their loved ones, sometimes getting a mere 30-minute visit every two weeks.
We have been getting calls on a daily basis in our Fort Garry office from people concerned about the care their loved ones are getting. We have many seniors in our community, and in personal care and retirement homes such as Kiwanis Plaza and Golden Door Geriatric Centre. Thirty minutes twice a month is not enough.
The reason for such infrequent visits is that PCHs are already critically understaffed to both facilitate visits and provide adequate care to residents. Being able to engage with our loved ones in care homes in a safe manner should be a high priority for the government but we have not seen them hire more nurses, aids, and allied staff so residents and the workers who care for them are safe and visits with loved ones can be scheduled.
Even before the pandemic, the government demonstrated that supporting seniors is not a high priority. It cut homecare services for seniors during the pandemic, has failed to build a single new PCH in the last four years, blocked our bill which would have forced government to guarantee a minimum standard of care, and has ordered cuts at PCHs.
The pandemic could have been an opportunity for this government to improve long-term care in Manitoba by implementing appropriate staffing levels. But as we have seen time and again, this government has chosen to slash and cut instead of invest in people. The government has failed seniors during this pandemic.
We need real leadership during this unprecedented pandemic. What is your experience with PCHs during the pandemic? Contact my office at 204-421-4241 or email@example.com
Fort Garry constituency report
Mark Wasyliw is the NDP MLA for Fort Garry.