THE FIRST LONG-TERM CARE home I ever visited left an indelible impression.
I was a kid, and my grandmother Justina Hohm had been placed there when Alzheimer’s made it impossible for her to live on her own. I visited her along with my parents and brother and I remember her being the same sweet, gentle woman I had always known except for one thing: she didn’t know who we were.
It was heart-breaking. And yet, it was a good facility, clean, cheerful, well-run. It’s my recollection that it was a government-run building, pre-privatization.
Much has changed in the field since then and, today, long-term care facilities (or, nursing homes or extended care, if you prefer) are much under scrutiny. A report on five Ontario long-term care homes has painted a shocking picture of neglect and abuse of their elderly residents.
Mel Rothenburger is a former mayor of Kamloops, former school board chair, former editor of The Kamloops Daily News, and a current director on the Thompson-Nicola Regional District board. He was awarded the Jack Webster Foundation’s lifetime achievement award in 2011 and was a 2019 Commentator of the Year finalist in the Webster Awards. His editorials are published Monday through Thursdays, and Saturdays on CFJC Today, CFJC Midday and CFJC Evening News. Contact him at firstname.lastname@example.org.