During a talk today at Parrsboro’s Main & Station, Marchel Strong criticized the provincial government for focusing so heavily on home care instead of adding more long-term care beds.
“To keep people in their own home is wonderful when it fits,” Strong said. But she added that in thinly populated rural areas like Advocate Harbour, “it doesn’t fit so much.”
Strong told the story of a woman in Advocate Harbour who is nearly 90 and who wanted to move into one of four empty beds at Chignecto Manor last year. The Manor is a residential care facility that is run as a community co-operative.
After an assessment by a continuing care worker, the woman was told she should stay in her own home. Strong said that even though the woman wears braces on both of her arthritic knees, she rented an upstairs apartment in Advocate last winter because she couldn’t cope with living in her home.
“She fundraised, worked her fanny off all of the years of her life in that community thinking that some day that Manor would be there for her when she needed it,” Strong said. “She was refused.”
Strong meets health minister
Earlier this year, Strong managed to arrange a meeting with provincial health minister Leo Glavine and other senior officials in Halifax. After she presented her concerns about the need for long-term care, officials agreed to attend a follow-up meeting earlier this month in Advocate Harbour. It was attended by about 100 people from the area. Strong says she’s waiting to hear back from the health department on what action, if any, the government will take.
“I just want people to know we’ve got a big problem,” she says, “and unless it starts to change now, there’s not going to be anything for any of us when we need it.”