Stepping up for seniors
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Feb 26, 2014  |  Vote 0    0

Stepping up for seniors

Stratford Gazette

Re: Crisis in home care, letter to the editor, Feb. 6

If our seniors cannot be adequately cared for at home, then with the shortage of room in nursing homes and care facilities, they may have little or no options at the end of the day. If the government continues to waver and does not invest in home care and accessible long term facilities, the situation will spiral out of control and collapse.

(The former) Avon school continues to sit on lands that could be put to better use. We now have sufficient expensive luxury accommodation for the retired. The City of Stratford desperately needs a new, safe and modern nursing home, which is fully accessible. There is sufficient acreage at the old Avon school property.

The existing nursing homes have a waiting list of four to five years. The existing and not readily accessible nursing homes cannot handle the present chronic care patients waiting in hospital. There is the case of a husband having to go into an out of town nursing home, and the elderly spouse being in Stratford. The requirement for her to travel outside of Stratford is very devastating and indeed cruel.

There are big plans in the works for the former FRAM site. Council is headed toward an Official Plan amendment and rezoning for the subject land. Why can we not consider the same sort of flexibility of attitude for the Avon school property?

This old school should be torn down, and a new nursing home constructed. Stratford realtors have the property listed. Why can the city not meet with the owners and the appropriate builders to create what is really required in the City of Stratford? Should the old Avon school property not be large enough or be adequately serviced to be considered, then a portion of the old agricultural society property should be put forward as a suitable modern nursing home location.

Perhaps the Rotary  Club of Stratford or another willing service club should broaden its focus, and support the establishment of a charitable not for profit home, similar to Knollcrest in Milverton, which would combine long term as well as end of life care.

Council should actively be petitioning the Ontario Government to approve more nursing home beds for the City of Stratford. These beds, if awarded, should not be able to be moved outside the corporate limits of the City of Stratford. Unfortunately nursing home beds have become like a milk quota. We don’t want them moved away from Stratford once they have been awarded.

Stratford should do its utmost to provide for the care of its seniors within its boundaries. This includes encouraging builders and home operators, both private and not for profit, to build nursing homes and supporting any necessary planning or zoning changes to facilitate such structures.

Marilyn Sylvester


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