Thursday, June 18, 2009

Long-Term Care & data

Scientific data and seniors seem to be absent from media these days. Even lobby groups, who used to be careful about their claims (I thought!), are now touting great doom and gloom pronouncements.

I belong to the Canadian Association of Retired Persons (CARP), which is a sister organisation of AARP, the Americans. What concerns me, is that since the medical care is vastly different between the US and Canada (due to our health care system, gay marriage laws, etc.), many studies are cited that do not apply to Canada, but end up fear mongering and taking away from the real issues.

CARP - A New Vision of Aging for Canada

Canada's Association for the 50Plus, a New Vision of Aging for Canada.
www.carp.ca/

Why does it have to be new? What is wrong with the 'old'? We always wanted to live long, healthy lives in dignity and respect.

CARP purports to present information about Advocacy, Benefits, and Community. But this is just a media outlet, that seeks advertising dollars from all sorts of places, and cannot claim to represent all seniors, only the ones that can afford to belong. They lobby for pension reform, on behalf of all, I suppose, without a voice from those without pensions.

A CARP Poll Uncovers High Rate of Elder Abuse:
Those With Caregivers Most At Risk

"A CARP poll of members has revealed that almost 1-in-10 older Canadians have suffered from elder abuse. Based on our sample which is primarily 55 years and older, a group which makes up 8.7 million people in Canada, 9% would represent 783,000 older Canadians. Abuse manifests itself as neglect, physical, financial or sexual abuse, and CARP members report all of these." Read more
Who did they study? Where is the data from? Is this a scientific study, or did it arise form the little on-line form I filled in last week? When I saw it, it said:

In their study: "respondents reported a pattern that is mirrored in the existing literature":

Psychological abuse (swearing, cursing) 13%
Financial abuse (fraud, theft) 4%
Sexual abuse (touching, language) 2%
Physical abuse (beatings, assault) 1%
Neglect 1%

Yet their newsletter stated:

as many as 783,000 could be affected.

I must admit that I have heard many seniors giving as good as they get - or vice versa. Once dementia hit my dad's brain, he was violent, angry and physical. He participated in a fist fight with another man in a wheelchair when they collided.

I really question putting all our faith in this kind of lobbying.

Instead of having lobby groups, primarily concerned with saving tax dollars, increasing pensions, and making money, jumping onto this band wagon, why don't they concentrate on what they know and do best? I attended a Muskoka workshop on Elder abuse, and I know that there are non-profit agencies whose work is excellent.

There are many professional health care organisations dedicated to this cause. It is the latest 'sexy' issue, but one that must not be over blown to the detriment of other issues such as regulation of health care workers, increased staffing, patient advocates and some of the other issues for which I advocate in my book.

It is wonderful that people in our community are celebrated, rather than fear-mongering with false data - like this man:

Photo: REAL ESTATE, REAL EXPERIENCE. Ed Seagram is full of stories about his adventurous life, from safaris across Africa, to college days in the southern U.S. and a stint with the American air force in France. But the dedicated real estate broker, who turns 80 this year, would rather talk business.
June 3, 2009 - by Kerri MacDonald
"Ed Seagram will not sit down. Wearing a light brown corduroy jacket and carrying a leather briefcase, Seagram’s here on business."

Keep up the good work, Kerri. Laud our active seniors. We have a strong volunteer community in this province, see My Muskoka post on this celebration.

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