It’s a Wonderful Life (not available in Canada or the U.S.)

 

Now that the holiday season is well upon us, let’s raise a toast to Denmark. Yes, Denmark, the little country that could… and does treat its elderly citizens with compassion, love and respect.

The Danes even passed a law giving every nursing home resident the right to fresh air – every day! Remarkable. Yes the right to fresh air is actually enshrined in law, unlike so many elder rights “wall posters” which aren’t worth the paper they’re written on, like British Columbia’s much ballyhooed but hollow Residents Bill of Rights… the one that does not even mention the fundamental right of a person to not consent to (forced) treatment.

And let’s raise a glass to the feisty elderly women of France who, outraged at the prospect of “life” in a seniors’ residence, became real estate developers and built retirement homes for themselves in a brand-spanking new 6-story Paris apartment building – which they also run and operate themselves. Three cheers for the women of Baba Yaga’s House.

These good works are models of courage, cooperation and simple decency that we in Canada and the United States should be using as a beacon to guide us to a future where our elderly citizens can live their lives free of fear, free of abuse by doctors, nurses and aides, and free to live life where and how they wish.

Two documentaries recently aired on the Canadian Broadcasting Corporation in the fall of 2012, one about Denmark’s efforts and the other about the intrepid Parisian women. Kudos to the CBC for taking a leadership role in the Canadian media to portray possibilities beyond what our politicians seem to be able to envisage.

We wish each and every elderly citizen and their loved ones a very joyous holiday season, in whatever spirit you celebrate the coming light, whether it be pagan or Christian, Muslim, Jewish or Hindu. May you be nurtured by a profound reverence for life and nature.
 
The gift of love, of time spent together, of compassion, even of fresh air, these are some of the most precious gifts you can give an elderly person, especially one who is in a seniors’ residence. And, these pleasures are all free. Please give.
 
Now, a couple of gifts for you. Prepare to be inspired!

 

In Denmark, It’s their (wonderful) Life

November 14, 2012

CBC Sunday Edition Host Michael Enright’s introduction:  There’s a big old brick house on the west side of Copenhagen where 23 men and women live like a family. Seventy per cent of the family has dementia. They take Caribbean vacations together. The 98-year-old man on the second floor has (more…)

Jean Wilder case in court today

 

Despite the efforts of Jean Wilder’s family and friends, and a letter-writing campaign by the public earlier this year, this 61-year-old woman is still being held in an Interior Health Authority (IHA) hospital with no apparent justifiable reason or legal authority.

 

In February 2012 Jean Wilder was transferred from the Invermere & District Hospital’s acute care department to an extended care unit (ECU) to recover from complications following surgery a month earlier. When Jean and her family raised concerns about the care she was receiving at the ECU, hospital staff suddenly detained Jean against her will, banned her family and friends, and refused to allow Jean to see a lawyer. See previously published stories.

Now, nine months later, Jean Wilder is still being held without any due process. The IHA has not provided Jean Wilder’s family with any information about why, or under what legislation, she is being forcibly detained without her consent. The Interior Health Authority also appears to be making all health care decisions for Jean Wilder, even though they have no lawful right to do this.

Jean Wilder’s voice and rights to her own life and liberty, now long ignored, will likely be completely snuffed out this week.

On December 12, 2012, a court in New Westminster, B.C., 800 kilometres and a 9 hour drive from Invermere, BC, will take 5 minutes to hear the case to declare Jean Wilder legally incapable.

Why and how did this happen?  The short answer is that she became an unwilling victim of elder abuse by the Interior Health Authority and the Public Guardian and Trustee. After Jean Wilder’s family and friends raised concerns about Jean’s care, hospital staff reported them to the B.C. Public Guardian & Trustee’s office (the PGT). From that moment (more…)

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