Skip to content

Senior calls for more care facilities

A 77-year-old woman’s fight to keep her husband in the community where they spent their lives together and raised a family came to a happy conclusion this week.
Betty Sale said the lack of care available for seniors is a ‘kick in the face’
Betty Sale said the lack of care available for seniors is a ‘kick in the face’

A 77-year-old woman’s fight to keep her husband in the community where they spent their lives together and raised a family came to a happy conclusion this week.

However, Betty Sale said her ordeal over the past few months made her aware of the huge shortfall in services for seniors and prompted her to tell her story to raise awareness about the issue.

Sale’s husband, Louis, who is 85 years old, suffered successive strokes over the past three years and now needs long term care. He was admitted to hospital in January after a further stroke.

The Sales learned that because there was no care place for him in Athabasca, he would have to move away from his home and family to another town, most likely Lac La Biche.

“I didn’t want them to move him,” she explained. “We’ve been married for 58 years. If he was moved to Lac La Biche or further, I couldn’t go to visit him. I don’t drive in the winter. It would be pretty hard for him not to see his family every day.”

Sale started writing to local politicians, the Health Minister and contacted the town council.

She said to find out there was no care available in the community for her husband was like a ‘kick in the face’.

“What’s wrong with our government when it has come to this? My husband was a farmer all his life, he worked hard, volunteered in the community, and now when he needs help, they won’t give it to him,” she said.

The family was told Louis could not remain in hospital, because he no longer required acute care. He would be returned home, where Betty feared she could not take care of him, even with the help of her children.

Betty decided to put the pressure on until her husband got the care he needed and her determinedness seemed to yield results.

On Friday, she was told her husband will be moved to the Athabasca Healthcare Centre’s auxilliary care this week.

“I cried when they told me,” she described. “I said God bless them. This is such a relief.”

However, other families are not so lucky and Sale said the community needs to fight for facilities for its seniors.

“I hope my story might help someone else who is in the same position.”

Mayor Roger Morrill raised the issue at the council’s meeting last Tuesday and agreed the situation called for action.

“This is a quality of life issue. It’s an area we are missing in our town,” he said.

Councillor Lionel Cherniwchan explained the town sought long-term assisted living facilities in the past but were informed by the regional health board they didn’t meet the ‘critical mass’. Instead, facilities are available in larger towns such as Westlock.

It was time people got together to see these services for seniors established in the community, he continued.

“So who provides the impetus? If it has to be the council, well then yeah, it has to start some place,” he said.

Cherniwchan said he would move to form a committee of council to try and get some long term assisted living in Athabasca.





Comments