Nunatsiaq News
LETTERS: Nunavut February 15, 2017 - 8:30 am

Mad Mom’s mad about elder care

"Bring our elders back home to their own land"

Iqaluit elders enjoy the RCMP Christmas dinner in later November 2014. The proportion of senior citizens within Nunavut's population is expected to grow rapidly in the future. (FILE PHOTO)
Iqaluit elders enjoy the RCMP Christmas dinner in later November 2014. The proportion of senior citizens within Nunavut's population is expected to grow rapidly in the future. (FILE PHOTO)

Mad Mom here. And what am I mad about this time, you ask?

I saw a Request For Proposals for accommodation for Level 4 and Level 5 elders—you know the ones we keep shipping down to Ottawa, who are as far from home as anyone could be at their age.

Seems like the Government of Nunavut is intent on prolonging the use of southern facilities, rather than getting some guts and doing what the people want and building a northern facility that embraces all levels, for our elders.

I hear from many friends and relatives that they tried to visit the elders in the Embassy West lodgings, only to be given the run-around about who it is that needs to okay this and many have been turned away. This is nuts.
There isn’t even an interpreter with these elders all the time, so how can the caregivers ever know what their clients desire or how they are feeling? This is nuts.

We forget some of these elders are married or were in relationships; now they are torn away from everything and everyone. Partners and children cannot afford the air tickets down to see them, so relationships shrivel up and loneliness sets in. This too, is nuts.

An older acquaintance confided that she has nothing to look forward to now, but a grim future, if she falls prey to being shipped out like the rest, far away from her children and grandchildren, the only ones that keep her going, she said.

I ask the GN, what on earth are you thinking?  Who among the many MLAs and ministers lacks the political will to stop this deportation of the most vulnerable at the most delicate time in their lives?  Is it all of you?

These people aren’t dead; they deserve a much higher quality of life than this. They deserve to play their rightful role in Inuit society to be cared for, with access to their own families, seeing their friends and feeling safe and comfortable in their homeland. No one should have the power to do this to them.

It is the same argument for treatment centres; spend all the money in the south, rather than pull together enough political will and funds to do it better up here, creating construction jobs, training strategies and employment for northern people, by keeping the money here.

My advice is, do not re-elect any of these politicians during the fall election, unless you start hearing candidates who have some backbone to get that treatment centre for us and to bring our elders back home to their own land. 

Don’t vote for any of the current MLAs who will not provide you with an iron-clad promise, backed up with a plan on how to accomplish both these things. Otherwise your vote will let them get away with turning their backs once again on these two issues, like they already have been getting away with.

Find and support better candidates next fall, who will listen to the voices of Nunavummiut!

Mad Mom

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