Issue 31 – Misinformed

“I’m so glad mom and dad finally decided on something.” John had been worried his sister’s involvement may have derailed his parents’ decision, as it seemed Catherine usually disagreed with everything simply for argument’s sake.

“It has everything they need, and I went on another tour with them this week. It’s very nice and close to everything!” Catherine was enjoying her weekly check-ins with her brothers. She appreciated having some support, especially given the fact that she was the only one doing any physical work in light of the two brothers living on the other side of the country.

“I had a chance to look up the place Catherine, and I had some concerns.” James’ comment took both Catherine and John by surprise. Up until this point, James had been pretty complacent. He usually didn’t speak up unless he felt very strongly about something. “There was this report just released by some advocacy body in Alberta that goes on about how private providers are horrible. They don’t care for their residents and the whole move towards designated supportive living is really problematic. It’s really scary stuff!”

“There are reports released all the time that go on about this kind of stuff James. Yes, some of the concerns are valid, but you have to look at the source and figure out if there’s some kind of agenda. I think I know the report you are referring to. There’s this whole private versus public sector dialogue that happens, and it’s completely unwarranted. I’ve been doing a lot of reading since Mom and Dad decided to start looking. I can send you some other information.” John put his siblings on speaker phone while he went to his computer to look up some of the articles he wanted to refer to.

“I looked into some other sites here James,” Catherine stated. “I had the same concerns at first. I was worried that Mom and Dad were making an expensive decision by choosing this building. But really, I didn’t see a huge difference. And this place, again, has EVERYTHING they want. The staff seem to really care about their residents, the food was actually REALLY GOOD, and the price isn’t that different than some of the rentals we looked at. In fact, the cost of this place was pretty average.”

“It comes down to what they can afford and what they want. If they are happy with their choice, and have done their research, I think we support them.” John was doing his best to reassure his brother.

“Then why would they publish a report like this? I don’t really understand.” James was flustered. It was as though his brother and sister weren’t listening to him.

“I think their desire to make improvements is in the right place, but they advocate for a specific outcome…not the residents,” John explained. “Find a report put out by a group that represents all sectors, and advocates for the resident, and you’ll find much better information.”

“And if you start touring some of these places James, you don’t see unhappy people. You see seniors enjoying themselves and socializing. It wasn’t what I thought it would be at all,” Catherine added.

“That makes sense,” James said. “And you’re right, if mom and dad are happy and feel their needs are going to be met, then we have to trust their decision.”

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It is easy to get caught up in the “bad news” stories that are propagated through various media channels. Due to the exposure the bad news gets, it is easy for the public to think that problems are more prevalent than they really are. Not to downplay the severity of such incidents, or make light of issues that need to be addressed, but all in all, many residents report a great deal of satisfaction with where they chose to live. Studies produced by the Health Quality Council of Alberta indicate that nearly 90% of residents enjoy living in a seniors community…but these are not the stories we hear.

What has been your experience with a seniors living community? If you haven’t had much exposure, what assumptions do you hold? In an effort to tell the real stories, we would love to hear from you. Please comment and share below!

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