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GINTA — Taking care of our vulnerable ones

 

(Daniela Ginta photo)

(Daniela Ginta photo)

Daniela Ginta writes for the Armchair Mayor News on Fridays.

COLUMN — Between 1998 and 2002 when my oldest son was born, I spent every Saturday morning practising social skills with a boy who had autism. He had a very sweet face and big brown eyes, and, just like any other six-year-old, he was happy to have people visit. Because of his condition, he had a couple of visits every week and his parents were relieved to have the help and also that extra bit of time off.

colheds-Gintahed1I was a volunteer, part of a buddy program that the Autism Society of B.C. had to put an end to in 2000, regretfully (sad to imagine that a program that used free community resources of the best kind – willing people, could not be saved). I opted to keep working with the boy, despite the program being terminated until my son was born and my days underwent a new baby reform and time to spare became a dream.

The boy’s family had many concerns about the future because they knew that one day their little boy with autism will become an adult with autism and the somewhat limited resources will be even more limited. They were right. He is now 21 and part of the group of adults with developmental disabilities who have access to limited care and resources, if any, outside their home.

A ‘then what?’ situation that I have come to hear of more than one time, and not just autism-related.

The son of some of my close friends has Duchenne muscular dystrophy and their journey, challenging by default one could say, has been, at times, even more challenging due to closed doors and a rather undignifying message of ‘No, we cannot help you with that.’

The community they live in stepped up and organized fundraisers to help out. It meant the world to my friends, but the fact remains that their expectations to have an ‘official’ hand get them out of the murky waters of increasing financial burdens and a quagmire of worries regarding the future are being put to test too often.

It is hard to imagine that kind of anguish. It is shameful that there is not enough funding to support those most vulnerable in our society. An ever-growing group, by all accounts and unfortunately so, that includes many people, young and old, with different issues; from developmental disabilities, to genetic conditions to cancer and mental issues, we hear of waiting lists and dwindling resources, and at the same time we hear of willing staff trying to help but becoming equally frustrated at the limited amount of funds that provincial and federal governments allocate to those in need.

In our own part of the woods here in Kamloops, we have but one oncologist at RIH, which means new patients who need one are directed to Kelowna. Cancer treatments and traveling do not mix well but what to do if you have no choice? The local discussion forums have been rife with arguments over the allocation of (lots of) money for the new Performing Arts Center when matters such as lack of specialized clinics are more needed in our midst. Steamy pros and cons matches aside, those who have been under threat, or their loved ones, know that available care is vital.

In caring for the most vulnerable, a country shows its true colours one could say. Budgets are never easy to figure out and issues keep piling up. Yet at the same time, those of us who are most at risk and their caregivers cannot be pushed to the side and told to wait until resources, be it money or people, are available. Some simply cannot wait; they do not have the luxury to do so.

It is heartwarming to see that at an individual or community level many people care and are willing to help out, but that is not enough to get those who need help through the thick of it. With elections approaching, we need to ask those who want to take the lead to care for our vulnerable ones. Together with a much needed solid education agenda, a plan to revive services and set aside funds for those in need should be a must-do for our soon to be elected government. We will all be better for it.

As I already said, it is hard to imagine the anguish of those who desperately need help, yet we have to do it. Our humanity obliges us to.

Daniela Ginta is a mother, scientist, writer and blogger. She can be reached at daniela.ginta@gmail.com, or through her blog at http://www.thinkofclouds.com.

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About Mel Rothenburger (6747 Articles)
ArmchairMayor.ca is a forum about Kamloops and the world. It has more than one million views. Mel Rothenburger is the former Editor of The Daily News in Kamloops, B.C. (retiring in 2012), and past mayor of Kamloops (1999-2005). At ArmchairMayor.ca he is the publisher, editor, news editor, city editor, reporter, webmaster, and just about anything else you can think of. He is grateful for the contributions of several local columnists. This blog doesn't require a subscription but gratefully accepts donations to help defray costs.

3 Comments on GINTA — Taking care of our vulnerable ones

  1. AHHHHHHHHHH! // July 7, 2015 at 10:47 AM // Reply

    Another excellent article.
    Several families are facing the realities you mention, and it’s devistating to think how fast the governments ‘lend a helping hand’ to other countries, yet ignore what’s going on in their own backyard.
    Being raised to always try to help others, it’s understandable that governments, along with their people, want to help others, but at the cost of having our own citizens be ignored ?
    And I agree that this includes our seniors.
    The tables have to turn.
    We must start taking care of those around us.

  2. Lawrence Beaton // June 26, 2015 at 11:59 AM // Reply

    Beautifully, written blog, thank you. As an aging person, I have recently become all to aware of the fact that we seniors are also very vulnerable. Another story for another time, Again thank you.

  3. Sean McGuinness // June 26, 2015 at 6:36 AM // Reply

    The measure of our society ought to be how well we take care of our most vulnerable.
    In BC, there isn’t a lack of money or people to help out. There are plenty of folks who care. The problem is the lack of political will to get something done.

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